Your primary care physician routinely screens you for many potential problems: high blood sugar, hypertension, and more. Did you know that screening for oral cancer also is an important part of routine health assessment? In fact, your dentist in Scarborough performs it with your six-month check-up and cleaning at White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. During April, Oral Cancer Awareness Month, why don’t you schedule your appointment with Dr. Amaro or Dr. Patel, and read the details here on this worrisome, but treatable, oral health malady?
It’s Serious, and You Could Be at Risk
Dr. Amaro and Dr. Patel check all their patients for oral cancer–that is, lesions affecting the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, cheeks and back of the throat. Why? Statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society reveal that more 46,000 new cases of oral cancer occur annually in Canada.
In addition, five-year survival rates are very low if the disease is advanced when diagnosed. However, when detected early, oral cancer is highly treatable and curable. Therefore, your family dentist in Scarborough takes screening seriously and teaches about potential risk factors and symptoms.
While people of any age, ethnicity or walk of life can develop oral cancer, some individuals seem more susceptible to it if they:
- Are men over the age of 40
- Have had contact with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Smoke or chew tobacco
- Have excessive sun exposure
- Abuse alcohol
- Eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables
While some people exhibit few to no obvious symptoms of oral cancer, you should be on the lookout for:
- A change in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
- Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
- Numbness, pain or tenderness of the tongue
- Ear pain on one side
If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care physician or White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.
What Screening Involves
Screening for oral cancer takes just a few minutes, and it’s completely painless. Your dentist will gently feel the sides of your neck and the angle of your jaw to assess your lymph nodes. Also, she will use a sterile piece of gauze to grasp your tongue gently, moving it side to side to look underneath and on top of it. She looks at the back of the throat and roof of the mouth as well.
What is Dr. Amaro or Dr. Patel looking for? She is looking for any swellings, red, white or dark patches, lumps or areas of redness. You should tell the doctor if any part of your mouth has been sore in any way for more than a week to ten days.
And then, that’s it. In just a few quick minutes, your dentist completes this critical oral health assessment.
Contact the Office
Remember, Oral Cancer Awareness Month (April) is a great time to visit White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Your oral and your overall health benefit from the many preventive services the professional team provides–including oral cancer assessment. Contact the office team today for your appointment.