Oral Cancer Screenings in Newark

stop cancer signOral cancer takes roughly 10,000 lives each year in the United States. While this disease isn’t as widespread or as deadly as other forms of cancer, that doesn’t mean you have license to ignore the possibility that it could affect you. Health experts recommend that all adults get screened for oral cancer at least once a year. Applying this advice could save your smile and maybe even save your life!

Why Screening Is So Important

Doctor with cancer awareness ribbonThere is a common misconception out there that only people who smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco are at risk for developing oral cancer. While it is true that the majority of oral cancer cases are related to these bad habits, even people who have never even thought about touching a cigarette could still find themselves battling this disease.

In recent years, it has been discovered that certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can lead to oral cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease; according to one estimate, 80 percent of sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lives. Many people do not even realize that they have it because it doesn’t always present obvious symptoms.

Other significant risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Age and gender. Oral cancer is more common in older men than it is in young people and women.
  • Heavy drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the body’s ability to fight off cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Spending too much time outdoors without sun protection for your lips may lead to melanoma.
  • A poor diet. A diet that lacks sufficient vitamins and minerals compromises the body’s ability to fend off cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that even if you believe you don’t have any of the risk factors for oral cancer, there is still a small chance that you could develop this disease. No one is exempt from the need to get screened.

Screening Is Quick and Painless

 dental examYour dentist in Newark offers oral cancer screenings as part of a routine checkup. The process is quick and painless. We’ll make a quick tactile and visual examination and look for any signs of oral cancer, including:

  • Patches of discoloration
  • Swelling in the oral cavity or in the lymph nodes
  • Strange sores
  • Unexplained bleeding

Also, be sure to mention it to us if you’ve experienced other possible symptoms of cancer, such as unexplained changes to your voice, a persistent sore throat, tongue pain, or jaw pain.

If your screening reveals anything suspicious, we’ll strongly recommend that you visit your physician for further testing. A biopsy may be necessary to provide an official diagnosis. Hopefully, if you do have oral cancer, we can catch it before it spreads to distant parts of the body and begins to pose a real threat to your life.

Oral goal is to protect your oral and overall health. If it is has been more than a year since your last oral cancer screening in Newark, please contact us to schedule an appointment.