How Your Dentist Could Save Your Life from Oral Cancer
November 16, 2022
Did you know that one person dies from oral cancer every hour every day? Experts predict that new diagnoses will reach more than 50,000 in the US this year alone, and the majority of these patients will not live five years because the disease is usually already at an advanced stage. Although these facts are startling, they are important to understand in order to protect yourself and stay healthy in the long term.
Fortunately, you are not alone in catching oral cancer. In this post, you will learn more about how your dentist plays a vital role in detecting oral cancer and the common symptoms they watch out for to save lives.
Early Diagnosis Is Key to Survival
As with many other cancers, the odds of surviving oral cancer are significantly higher the sooner the condition is diagnosed and treated. Treated early, oral cancer patients can have a survival rate of up to 90 percent. At later stages, however, the cancer is more difficult to eradicate with a survival rate of only 64 percent at maximum, and there is a higher likelihood of it coming back even after successful treatment.
The positive news is that you can easily have a professional, who is trained to recognize oral cancer even in its earliest stages, inspect your mouth on a regular basis. Your dentist not only looks for signs of cavities and gum disease during your routine dental checkup but also for potentially worrisome tissue that could indicate oral cancer. By attending these appointments, you give your dentist the opportunity to identify potentially serious issues hopefully before too much damage has been done and more drastic treatment is needed.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
When your dentist looks inside your mouth and ask you questions, they search for these symptoms:
- Sores on your lips or in your mouth that won’t heal
- Difficulty or pain swallowing
- Any lumps or masses on your neck or in your mouth
- Tongue pain
- Red, white, or red and white patches of tissue in your mouth or lips
- A persistent earache
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- Trouble wearing dentures
If your dentist notices anything that looks suspicious, they will refer you to a physician who can run further tests and biopsies to confirm a diagnosis and begin treatment.
In the end, you do not have to be a tragic statistic. Oral cancer, when identified in the beginning stages of development, is treatable and survivable. Your dentist is your first line of defense against this disease, giving you another reason to stay up-to-date with your biannual checkups. Simply put, this routine visit could save your life!
About the Practice
The team at Pioneer Greens Dentistry is concerned not only about patients’ oral health but also about their overall well-being. As part of every checkup and cleaning appointment, oral cancer screenings occur at least every six months for each patient. Has it been a while since your last dental appointment? Do you have any of the symptoms of oral cancer and want a professional opinion? Contact Pioneer Greens Dentistry by calling 402-483-7502 or visiting our Contact Us page today.
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