4 Reasons You Should Get an Oral Cancer Screening
You have many different reasons to visit the dentist at least twice a year. From cavity fillings and root canals to fluoride treatments and crowns, your dentist offers the specialized attention you need to maintain an attractive, healthy smile.
Just don’t forget about your oral cancer screening as well.
Nearly 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the U.S every year, especially in people over the age of 40. Unfortunately, many of those people aren’t diagnosed until the cancer spreads into their lymph nodes and becomes difficult to treat.
A quick, simple oral screening performed by your dentist is a powerful measure of prevention against oral cancer for the following four reasons (and many more!)
Oral Cancer is Aggressive and Dangerous
Oral cancer can develop anywhere in and around the mouth, including the lips, tongue, inner lining of the cheek, gums, and floor of the mouth. It develops in four stages, each more dangerous than the one before:
- -1: Tumor of 2 cm or less, when cancer hasn’t spread to lymph nodes
- -2: Tumor of 2-4 cm, when cancer hasn’t spread to lymph nodes
- -3: Tumor of 4 cm or more that hasn’t spread to lymph nodes, or any size tumor that has spread to one lymph node
- -4: Tumor of any size has spread to nearby tissues, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body
According to research from the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rates for oral cancer drops by nearly 50% when the cancer is found after it spreads, rather than before. Patients who are diagnosed with Stage 1 or Stage 2 oral cancer benefit from an 83% five-year survival rate, while Stage 4 oral cancer patients have a 38% five-year survival rate.
As oral cancer develops in the mouth, it triggers painful and unpleasant symptoms that often interfere with quality of life:
- -Chronic earaches
- -Sores on the lip or mouth that don’t heal
- -Bleeding from the mouth
- -Numbness in the lower lip, face, neck, or chin
- -Loose teeth and difficulty swallowing
- -Dramatic weight loss
There’s no doubt about it: oral cancer is a dangerous and aggressive disease that must be identified and treated as early as possible.
An Oral Cancer Screening Is Quick and Easy
Some diseases are very difficult to diagnose. They may require extensive imaging tests, bloodwork, and referrals to expensive specialists. An oral cancer screening is just the opposite: quick and simple!
In fact, an oral cancer screening is so easy that your Long Beach dentist can perform the process during your regular checkup every six months. The ultimate goal of an oral cancer screening is to examine the mouth for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions.
Here’s what you can expect:
- -Visual exam of the face, neck, lips, inside of nose, and oral cavity
- -Visual search for asymmetries, swelling, bumps, patches of color, or ulcerations
- -Physical exam of head, cheeks, jaw, and under chin to feel for unusual lumps or masses
- -Use of specialized brush to painlessly remove cells for further testing
Your dentist is trained to identify even the smallest signs of oral cancer. This allows the screening process to occur quickly. Using the results, your dentist can determine whether you’re currently vulnerable to oral cancer. If you are, he can offer guidance on additional testing or treatment to prevent complications.
An Oral Cancer Screening Can (Literally) Save Your Life
The numbers don’t lie: oral cancer patients who receive an early diagnosis are nearly 50% more likely to beat the cancer than patients diagnosed with late-stage oral cancer. Unlike other diseases that can only be screened or diagnosed at a specialist, you only need to sit in the dentist’s chair to be screened for oral cancer. There’s no easier way to potentially save your life!
Your Long Beach Dentist Wants to Help You!
Don’t leave it to chance. Oral cancer isn’t a rare disease that only happens to “other people”. Nearly 150 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every single day in the United States. If you are one of them, you want your diagnosis to occur long before cancer cells have the opportunity to mutate, spread, and infiltrate other areas of your body.
Dr. Steven Pakiz and his team are located in Long Beach, Ca to provide comprehensive dental services like oral cancer screenings to patients of all ages. Through thorough examinations and discussions, Dr. Pakiz gains a full understanding of your oral health to provide the best treatment options possible.
Under the careful watch of Dr. Pakiz, oral cancer doesn’t have to become a threat to your wellbeing. Call (562) 597-7830 to schedule an appointment today or request an appointment online. It only takes five minutes to potentially save your life!