Oral cancer--does it top your list of health concerns? It doesn't have to if you have routine oral cancer screenings with your Chehalis, WA, dentist, Dr. Michael White. Dr. White understands that oral cancer threatens the lives of millions of Americans, with new diagnoses reaching almost 50,000 cases every year in the US. Read here what oral cancer assessment entails (including how easy it is) and what the early signs of this potential killer are so you can be on the alert.
The details on oral cancer
Oral cancer lesions affect the tongue, lips, roof of the mouth, back of the throat, inside of the cheeks--in short, any and all of the soft tissues of the mouth and throat. Risk factors include age and gender (over 40 and being male), but also, the Mouth Cancer Foundation cites these issues as contributors:
- Use of smokeless tobacco and smoking
- Alcohol abuse
- Exposure to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted microorganism
- Excessive sun exposure
Unfortunately, when these factors lead to active malignancies, go undetected or are detected late, oral cancer deaths run high. In fact, 50 percent of these patients do not survive more than five years, says the Mouth Cancer Foundation.
What can you look for?
Here are the early signs of oral cancer. If you experience one or more, contact your primary care physician or your dentist in Chehalis. Watch for:
- White or red patches that do not heal
- Loose teeth
- Hoarseness of voice or a persistent sore throat
- Any unusual sores or lumps in the mouth
- Swellings at the angle of the jaw or neck
- Difficulty swallowing
Dr. White knows exactly what to look for when assessing for oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings at your dentist's office are simple, quick and totally painless.
After your hygienist cleans your teeth, your dentist checks for tooth decay, gums disease and other oral health concerns. Also, he inspects the inside your mouth, including under your tongue and at the back of your throat. When you receive these screenings every six months as the American Dental Association advises, any problems are caught early when treatment is most effective.
If it's time for your semi-annual visit with your dentist in Chehalis, WA, Dr. Michael White, please contact the office for an appointment at (360) 748-0168. Remember, that quality preventive dentistry always includes that important oral cancer assessment for your best smile and great overall health.