When it comes to problems affecting your mouth and your oral health, early detection is invaluable, and prevention is the easiest cure. This is especially true for oral cancer.
Oral cancer is divided into two main types. The first affects your oral cavity, including the lips, the inside of your cheeks, teeth, gums, the front part of your tongue and the floor and roof of your mouth. The second type occurs in the pharynx (middle region of the throat, including the tonsils, which connects the mouth to the esophagus), and the base of the tongue.
There are a number of reasons why you should get an oral cancer screening as part of your annual or semi-annual visit to the dentist.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 50,000 people in the United States will get the diagnosis in 2018, and more than 10,000 will die from it.
Men over the age of 50 are at the most risk, especially those who smoke and drink alcohol to excess. However, it is important to note, that 25 percent of people who do not smoke or drink on a daily basis are still at risk for developing oral cancer.
Oral cancer is so deadly because it’s very difficult to diagnose in the early stages. No pain or other symptoms are present in very early stages of this type of cancer, and therefore, it is typically only caught after it has developed into a more severe stage.
Some of these later-stage symptoms include:
It is important to see your dentist if you become aware of any of these signs and symptoms, as they may indicate oral cancer.
What could be easier than having an oral cancer screening performed by a dentist who knows what to look for – especially if you’re already at the dentist for your annual or semiannual dental checkup? It’s the best kind of twofer: the type that may save your life. When it’s part of your regular exam, there shouldn’t be an additional cost for the screening itself. Easy peasy.
If you think oral cancer can’t happen to you, think again. You may be surprised how many people are wrong about that. Pay attention to your oral health, and if something doesn’t look or feel right, make an appointment to have it looked at by an expert.
To learn more about oral health, and to receive an oral cancer screening, call Dr. Ernie Soto at (954) 368-6264 to request an appointment or request an appointment online.