Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, this is a great time to schedule an oral cancer screening. Research shows that approximately 7,900 people die from oral cancer each year. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer have used some form of tobacco. Other risk factors for oral cancer include: heavy alcohol use, sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), and untreated severe periodontal disease. Found and treated early, survival rate increases dramatically.
A great time to be screened is during your regular dental visits. The process only takes a few moments. Here is what you should expect during your oral cancer screening:
- Prior to your examination, remove any dentures or partials.
- Your neck, face, lips, and mouth will be inspected for visible signs of cancer.
- Your throat, jaw, and neck will be felt for any lumps.
- The inside of your lips and cheeks will be examined for red or white patches that may indicate cancer.
- You will be asked to stick out your tongue so that the healthcare provider can thoroughly check the top, sides, and underside for abnormal texture, color, or swelling.
- Additionally, the roof, floor, and back of the mouth will be examined.
- The examination will conclude with your healthcare provider gently placing one finger on the floor of your mouth and using the other hand to apply pressure under the chin to check for sensitivity or lumps.
If you notice any abnormalities prior to your regular visit, contact me, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA family dentist. I provide cosmetic, preventive, and restorative services to patients in Pella, Oskaloosa, Lynnville, and surrounding areas. Call my Pella dentist office today at (641)628-1121 to schedule an appointment. Remember, early detection and treatment lead the battle in fighting oral cancer.