It was estimated that there would be over 600,000 cancer deaths in the United States in 2017, only about 10,000 of which were projected to be from oral cancer. Because oral cancer kills relatively few people, some people might reason that they don’t have to worry about this disease. That is a big mistake! Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we thought this would be the perfect time for your dentist near Montville to offer some gentle reminders about why everyone should be on guard against this disease.
The Importance of Regular Screenings
It’s a basic truth regarding any form of cancer that the earlier it’s detected and treated, the better the chances of survival. Early detection may do more than save your life, however; it might also spare you from the extensive, painful, and perhaps even disfiguring, treatments that become necessary after cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and more distant parts of the body.
Experts recommend that adults get screened for oral cancer at least once a year, and doing so is a quick and painless process. It’s as easy as visiting your family dentist near Montville for a checkup. As part of a routine exam, we’ll perform a tactile and visual examination that checks for things like patches of discoloration, odd lumps and swelling, strange bleeding, and more. If we notice any suspicious areas, we’ll urge you to visit your physician as soon as possible so you can undergo further tests and receive an official diagnosis.
Don’t Smoke? You Should Still Get Screened
About 80 percent of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer use tobacco, making it the number one risk factor for this disease. That’s why so many people might think that if they’ve never smoked, they don’t have to worry about oral cancer. However, there are several other risk factors that may lead to this illness:
- Heavy alcohol consumption may lessen your body’s ability to fight cancer-causing cells.
- Human papilloma virus is the most common STD, and many people don’t realize they have it. Some forms of it have been linked to oral cancer.
- Excessive sun exposure can lead to melanoma on the lips.
- Older men are more likely to develop oral cancer than young people and females.
- A compromised immune system makes it more difficult to the body to ward off cancer.
- A poor diet lacks the antioxidants and other nutrients that help to prevent cancer from forming.
Even if you believe that you don’t have any risk factors for oral cancer, screening is still important because this disease can attack anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or lifestyle. Really, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting screened.
At Comprehensive Dental, our three dentists and the rest of our talented staff offer compassionate and high-quality care to everyone who visits us. If it is time for your next oral cancer screening, we’ll be happy to schedule you for a checkup. Please get in touch with us at 973-633-5666.