Cancer is generally associated with being discovered during an appointment at the doctor, but it comes in many forms, so that’s not always the case. There are times when a visit to the dentist could bring about a cancer diagnosis for someone. According to the American Cancer Society, over 51,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. While that statistic is worrisome, it is important to remember that an early diagnosis and prompt treatment can improve your chances of survival. With that in mind, read on as your dentist in Medford shares the signs, risk factors, and prevention tactics.
How Does Oral Cancer Become Evident?
With cancer, it is common for symptoms to vary from person to person. However, there are some frequent signs that many patients experience. Therefore, it is important to look for:
- Trouble moving your jaw or tongue
- Frequent bad breath
- Unintended weight loss
- Feeling like something is caught in your throat
- White or red mouth sores on your gums, tonsils, or the lining of your mouth
- Swelling in your neck
- A lump in your cheek
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
What Activities & Conditions Put You at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Although oral cancer has been a prevalent health issue for decades, extensive research is still underway on what exactly causes it. However, researchers have pinpointed certain behaviors and conditions that put patients at a higher risk of being diagnosed:
- Extended sun exposure
- Being over the age of 45
- Having another type of head or neck cancer
- Using tobacco products
- Consuming a large amount of alcohol
- Contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV)
Why Are Exams So Crucial When It Comes to Oral Cancer?
Fortunately, mouth cancers are recognized as one of the most preventable types. In fact, if it is diagnosed in the early stages, the survival rate is up to 81 percent compared to roughly 45 percent at the five-year mark.
So, it is of the utmost importance to minimize your risk by limiting sun exposure, eating a balanced diet, quitting poor oral habits like using tobacco products, and visiting your dentist twice a year for checkups. Make sure to talk to your dentist in Medford today about scheduling a biannual exam and oral cancer screening!
About the Practice
At Giamberardino Dental Care, patients can always expect to encounter a friendly staff in a state-of-the-art facility. Dr. Anthony Giamberardino is your dentist in Medford and has been treating smiles of all sorts for many years now. He has the precise skill and trained eye needed to handle a wide variety of cases, from preventive dentistry to complex reconstructive and cosmetic cases. Dr. Giamberardino provides an oral cancer screening as part of your regular evaluations. Schedule a checkup and cleaning on his website or by calling (781) 396-3800.