Did you know oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, almost 53,000 individuals in the U.S. are expected to receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year. And, every hour of every day, one individual dies from oral cancer.
Routine checkups with a dentist in Lincoln, NE, will help more than your smile only. They’re an essential aid in checking for signs of oral cancer.
The American Dental Association recommends you have a dental checkup twice a year to have your teeth professionally cleaned and look for potential signs of gum issues and tooth decay. But, a lot of dentists, including ours at Korte Family Dentistry, use regular dental exams to look for signs of oral cancer.
The National Cancer Institute recommends you should have a cancer screening before you begin showing symptoms.
How Often Should You Receive Oral Cancer Screening in Lincoln, NE?
You should schedule an appointment with your dentist a minimum of once a year, preferably twice, to keep your mouth healthy. However, not all dental professionals agree on how often you should have an oral cancer screening done. Typically, they all do agree the higher your risk of getting oral cancer, the more frequently you should have a screening.
What Can I Do To Prevent Oral Cancer?
Knowing your risk factors is the most important first thing to do. For instance, men have twice the chance of developing oral cancer as they age. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking, and having a poor diet are other risk factors, and you could reduce your risk of this cancer if you changed these habits.
Common risk factors that could increase your risk are:
- Previously having an oral cancer
- Drinking alcohol excessively
- Using tobacco, including using snuff, smoking, or chewing dip
- Too much sun exposure (increases your risk of lip cancer)
- Chewing a smokeless tobacco mix called betel
- Certain forms of human papillomavirus (HPV) — can be transmitted through oral sex
Give us a call, and we’ll let you know if you should come in for a screening.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
There are signs of oral cancer you shouldn’t ignore, especially if they don’t go away after a couple of weeks. These include:
- White or red patches
- An irritation or sore that won’t go away
- A thickening, lump, crust, rough spot, or small eroded area
- Tenderness, pain, or numbness on your lips or in your mouth
- Trouble swallowing, chewing, moving your jaw or tongue or speaking
- A change, when you close your mouth, in how your teeth fit together
Some individuals complain of a sore throat, saying it feels like they have something caught, hoarseness, numbness, or a change in voice. If you experience any of these symptoms, give us a call.
Don’t wait until you experience pain. Pain isn’t always a predictable indicator. So, if it doesn’t hurt, don’t just assume it’s not a problem.
What to Expect at Your Oral Cancer Screening
The goal of oral cancer screening in Lincoln, NE, is to detect precancerous lesions that could result in mouth cancer or mouth cancer at an early stage when your lesions or cancer are simplest to remove, and there’s more likelihood of it being cured.
In your oral cancer screening, we’ll examine the inside of your mouth to look for white or red patches and other sores. We’ll check for lumps and other irregularities by feeling the tissues in your mouth. We’ll also examine your neck and throat for lumps.
If we discover any signs of precancerous lesions or mouth cancer, we’ll have to come in a few weeks later for a follow-up visit to see if the abnormalities are still present and, if so, if they’ve changed or grown over time. We’ll have a biopsy performed to remove a sample of cells to test in the laboratory to determine if there are cancer cells and, if so, come up with a treatment plan.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
Oral cancer is a big deal and ignoring the signs could be life-threatening. Because of this, it’s important you schedule an appointment with Korte Family Dentistry to have an oral cancer screening done. We care about not just your oral health, but your overall health too. Click here to set up your consultation with our Lincoln, NE dentist, Dr. Allen Korte.