Oral Cancer Screenings in Marysville
Numbers do not lie. Here are some facts and figures from the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Each year, more than 9,500 people die from oral or pharyngeal cancer. That is an average of one death every hour. Also, over 43,000 are newly diagnosed annually and just over half of those people will be alive more than five years beyond their diagnosis.
At Allen Creek Family Dentistry, we take those numbers to heart. That is why we conduct oral cancer screenings in Marysville during regular dental checkups for the sake of our patients’ safety and overall wellbeing.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Are Dental Sealants Necessary if I Brush and Floss?
Like other cancer screenings, this one is intended to find early warning signs before symptoms develop. The procedure is quick, simple and painless. Here is another important number to know: dentists find about 84% of oral cancers early, so the couple of minutes each screening takes is very worthwhile.
During the screening, we look for lumps in oral soft tissue as well as any tissue abnormalities. An unhealed or bleeding sore anywhere in your mouth that has been around for a couple weeks should always be looked at. Likewise, a red or white patch of tissue or a lump underneath the surface could be a warning sign. The dentist will also question you about any areas that feel tender or numb, as well as a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing and any pain in your jaw or neck.
To find oral cancer, Marysville dentists at Allen Creek Family Dentistry thoroughly examine your mouth, throat and neck for signs of oral cancer. The screening includes:
- A visual inspection of the entire oral cavity that involves looking at the roof of your mouth (palate) and the floor of your mouth underneath your tongue
- Feeling along the line of lymph nodes in your neck and jaw
- Gently palpating around your jaw joints and ears
- Examining your lips and checking for any facial asymmetries
- Visually checking your throat and all the surfaces of your tongue
Oral Cancer’s Risk Factors
Medical researchers have found that there are some behaviors that can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Some of these risk factors can’t be changed, such as gender and age. For instance, men are diagnosed with oral cancer more often than women and most cases happen to people over the age of 55.
Nevertheless, there are some behaviors to be avoided if you want to reduce your risk of oral cancer. First and foremost, tobacco use of any kind is a proven risk factor for oral and pharyngeal cancer. Add excessive alcohol consumption and the risk becomes even greater.
Cancers on the lips are more common in people with greater sun exposure. HPV infection, inadequate nutrition and a weakened immune system also increase the risk.
To protect yourself against the threat of oral cancer, you can trust in your family dentists here in Marysville. Contact us today to schedule your next dental checkup.