Oral Cancer Screening
There are 35,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the United States every year. For every three people that do survive the disease, one does not. Recently, there has been a sharp uptick in oral cancer cases for individuals under 40. Now more than ever we need to be aware of oral cancer’s risk factors as well as the preventative measures that we can take to protect ourselves from this disease.
An oral cancer screening is a part of every dental examination at A Beautiful Smile. Scheduling regular checkups is a good way to detect oral cancer early, before the disease advances. In a screening, Dr. Jue will examine the inside of your mouth for a small white or red sore. While many mouth sores are harmless, some may be precancerous. If he suspects that a sore is dangerous he will take a cell sample to send to a laboratory. If the sore is indeed a precancerous growth, it can be removed.
Steps to Self-Prevention
While regular check-ups at the dentist’s office are a great way to detect oral cancer early, there are also steps that you can take to prevent oral cancer or catch it early:
Limit tobacco and alcohol usage – Smoking is the number one contributing factor in oral cancer cases. When smoking is combined with alcohol usage, the risk of oral cancer is even greater.
Avoid prolonged sun exposure – Long periods of sun exposure can damage the lips and increase the risk of lip cancer.
Know the signs – Oral cancer usually starts as a persistent red or white sore in the mouth. Additional indicators include pain, soreness or numbness in any region of the mouth. If you notice any of these signs, you should consult your dentist or physician immediately.