April is here, which means that it’s Oral Cancer Awareness month. While you may not have heard a lot about this issue, oral cancer is a problem that has continued to increase each year, over the last 16 years. There are certain factors that put you at a higher risk of oral cancer, but this is a problem that can affect anyone. During this month of awareness, your dentist wants you to know why it’s important to receive an oral cancer screening in Sparks.
Why are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
While oral cancer can be life-threatening, it is also one of the most curable cancers. If caught early on, patients can typically recover 100%. That’s why dentists alone catch 84% of oral cancers early on, giving their patients the best shot at a full recovery. This method of early detection is imperative for your oral and overall health because symptoms and warning signs of oral cancer are often hard to spot on your own. You should receive an oral cancer screening especially if you:
- Have been exposed to the sun for long periods of time
- Smoke or use tobacco routinely
- Consume alcohol heavily
- Have a family history of oral cancer
How Can I Tell if I Have Oral Cancer?
Even though the signs of oral cancer are sometimes hard to see, you should contact your dentist in Sparks if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Sores in or around your mouth that don’t heal
- Trouble swallowing
- Pain when swallowing
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Pain in your mouth
- Pain in your ears
- Changes in tissue color
- Lumps, bumps, or growths
What Does an Oral Cancer Screening Entail?
Your oral cancer screening consists of a visual and physical exam, and it only takes a few minutes in total to complete as part of your routine dental checkup. You may have even received an oral cancer screening before without even knowing it because it’s a relatively simple process. Your dentist will visually examine your throat, tongue, gums, cheeks, mouth, lips, head, and neck for any irregularities that may tip off cancer.
After, they will physically examine your jawbone and lymph nodes to see if there are any lumps or bumps to be concerned about. Dentists never want to find cancer, but they do want to help you take your first step towards a full recovery with early detection.
Have you received an oral cancer screening recently? Contact your dentist to ensure your oral and overall health are in tip-top shape.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Mark Thomas believes in treating more than just teeth, which is why he offers oral cancer screenings as well as sleep apnea therapy and other services to keep his patients healthy and happy. He currently practices at Vista Dental Care, and he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (775) 626-3535 for any questions.