Oral Cancer Screenings at Sweet Hart Dental
Oral cancer is an extremely serious condition – one that can sneak up on people before they realize it.
One of the biggest dangers with this cancer is that it can go completely unnoticed in its early stages. It can be painless, and there are very few obvious physical changes.
However, if you’re coming in for your regular appointments, we will perform a thorough head and neck exam to diagnose potential problems in their earliest stages.
A Serious Problem
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer kills one American every hour. This high mortality rate is attributed to the lateness of discovery. If it is spotted during stages 1 or 2 of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% survival rate, but too many people miss this window of opportunity.
Oral cancer has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors. This means that those who have survived a first encounter with the disease will be at a much higher risk of developing a second cancer (for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence).
Spotting the Signs
While it can be difficult to spot the signs of oral cancer before it hits the late stage problems, there are some things you can watch out for on your own. This includes:
* Lumps or masses that you can feel in your mouth or neck
* Difficult swallowing
* Pain when you swallow, speak, or chew
* Hoarseness that lasts for extended periods of time
* A wart-like mass growing unchecked
* Numbness in the mouth or facial area
Most importantly, if you have any sores or discolored areas in your mouth which do not heal within 14 days, get it checked by a professional immediately. A quick (2 minutes) to get an oral screening can be a life-saving difference. That’s all it takes to identify oral cancer, pre-cancer, and other abnormal lesions at their earliest stages. Ask us about it at your next cleaning.