Three Reasons To Get An Oral Cancer Screening

Every month is designated as a time to celebrate or raise awareness about a variety of things.

April is National Volunteer Month. It’s also Stress Awareness Month and Financial Literacy Month. But we are focused on something else today.

And April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. 

We realize that’s a heavier topic than we normally cover in our blogs, but it’s important for every patient who visits our dentist office in Danville, IL.

As part of our routine dental cleanings and exams, we include an oral cancer screening at Danville Smile Arts. We hope we don’t ever find anything. At the same time, we want you to know if we see something suspicious.

Today, we want to give you three reasons to schedule your next dental exam if you have not already done so. You can contact us online, or you can call 217-703-4536.

► 1. Oral cancer affects many people every year.

The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that an estimated 49,750 people in the US will learn that they have oral cancer this year. The foundation also noted that 26 people will die each day from this disease in America.

This is more serious than gum disease or tooth decay. It’s not as common, but for people who get this diagnosis, it’s life-changing for them and their families.

Tobacco use is the cause in most cases of oral cancer in the U.S. In fact, among people 50 and older who are diagnosed with oral cancer, 3 out of 4 are or have been tobacco users.

Any kind of tobacco will increase your risk of oral cancer — cigars, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, too. And in case you are wondering, some initial research suggests that e-cigarettes also increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

Alcohol use is the second leading cause of oral cancer, but combined alcohol and tobacco use can be particularly risky. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, and that can make it easier for the chemicals in tobacco products to get absorbed by your cheeks and gums.

► 2. Early detection makes a big difference in fighting oral cancer.

The five-year survival rate is a tool used to measure the effectiveness of treatments for many diseases, including cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for all oral cancer patients is 63 percent.

However, early detection makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of oral cancer treatment. When oral cancer is “localized,” meaning it has not spread from the mouth or throat, the five-year survival rate is 83 percent.

We think this shows how valuable early detection can be.

We don’t want any of our patients to have oral cancer. At the same time, routine dental exams increase the odds that we may notice it in the localized stage.

Again, you can schedule an appointment by calling 217-703-4536.

► 3. It’s better to know, either way.

Keep in mind that just because something may not be cancer just because it looks or feels suspicious.

Nevertheless, it’s better to get tested to know just in case. This will either give you peace of mind or help you take action to fight this disease.

If knowledge is power, then the first step is finding out if you should be tested.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Before we close, we know that a lot can change in someone’s mouth between routine visits. For that reason, we encourage you to take a moment to learn some of the common symptoms of oral cancer:

▸ Constant feeling of being hoarse or like you have a sore throat

▸ Sores in your mouth that do not heal

▸ White or red patches on the soft tissues of your mouth

▸ Feeling like something is caught in your throat constantly

▸ Problems chewing, moving your tongue or jaw, or swallowing

▸ Lumps in your mouth or throat

▸ Numbness in your mouth or face

▸ Swelling of the jaw

▸ Pain in the mouth or throat

It’s important to note that you may not feel any pain. Please be aware if any of these symptoms linger and don’t appear to be getting better.

You Need To Know

If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, please schedule an appointment at Advanced Smile Arts soon. If you would like us to look at your mouth, we will be happy to do so.

You can reach us online or call us at 217-703-4536.

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