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The Vital Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Denver, NC Dentist

oral cancer screenings near me

Oral cancer screenings are a critical element of dental health care, providing early detection of potential oral cancer signs before they develop into more severe conditions. These screenings are vital in catching the disease in its early stages when it is most treatable. With the increasing awareness and availability of dental health services, finding oral cancer screenings nearby has become more accessible. If you have been on the search for “oral cancer screenings near me,” Denver Dental Care in Denver, NC, is here to help you through our preventative services

 

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a severe condition characterized by the growth of abnormal cells in the oral cavity, including the lips, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the hard part of the roof of the mouth (palate), the gums, and the area behind the wisdom teeth. It can also occur in the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat, and other head and neck regions.

Incidence and Trends: While oral cancer can strike anyone, certain risk factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, as well as the human papillomavirus (HPV), have been linked to its development. Shockingly, oral cancer has seen a concerning rise in diagnoses, particularly among younger age groups, signaling a shift in both causative factors and the disease’s demographic impact.

Clinical Presentation: One of the challenges with oral cancer is that it can often mimic harmless conditions, such as canker sores or ulcers, in its early stages. Routine screenings are crucial in detecting these abnormalities and addressing potential cancer cases.

 

Top 5 Reasons Why Oral Cancer Screenings Are Vital

Understanding the value of oral cancer screenings is critical for every dental patient. While the word ‘cancer’ can often trigger anxiety, knowing the reasons behind why these screenings are essential can help alleviate fears and encourage proactive care:

  • Early Detection Saves Lives: Early detection undoubtedly leads to more effective treatment and better chances of survival. When oral cancer is detected in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is around 80-90%. These high survival rates testify to identifying oral cancers at the pre-cancerous or cancerous stages.
  • Quick, Painless, and Non-Invasive: Contrary to the common misconceptions around cancer screenings, oral cancer checks are straightforward procedures conducted right in your dentist’s chair. Patients are typically asked to stick out their tongue and to say “ahh” as Dr. Stephen Yu or your hygienist examines the inside of the mouth for any irregularities. This simple, painless process can be life-saving.
  • Reduce the Severity of Treatment: An additional benefit of catching oral cancer is that it often requires less aggressive treatment. With small, localized tumors, the treatment is usually a simple excision, which involves cutting out the tumor and the surrounding tissue. When cancer is advanced, more invasive treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, or extensive surgery may be necessary.
  • Importance for High-Risk Individuals: Individuals with a known history of tobacco and alcohol use or those who have been diagnosed with HPV might be at a higher risk of oral cancer. Regular screenings are particularly crucial for these high-risk patients, as they monitor any changes and ensure prompt intervention if necessary.
  • Rising Prevalence Demands Attention: Oral cancer’s increasing prevalence is concerning. It’s no longer an ailment solely associated with older populations and those with heavy smoking habits. The pervasiveness of HPV-related oral cancer in younger, non-smoking individuals is a clear signal that screens are critical, even for seemingly low-risk demographics.

 

Prevention is Key

In addition to regular screenings, patients can take proactive steps to reduce their risk of oral cancer. These include:

  1. Avoid High-Risk Behaviors: The most significant risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. By refraining from smoking and excessive drinking, individuals can dramatically reduce their chances of developing oral cancer. 
  2. Healthy Diet and Active Lifestyle: A balanced diet and regular exercise contribute to overall health and can aid in the prevention of many health conditions, including some forms of cancer. 
  3. Practicing Good Oral Hygiene: Proper oral hygiene is good for your teeth and gums and is essential in the fight against oral cancer. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can play a significant role in early detection.
  4. Get Vaccinated Against HPV: The HPV vaccine can protect against several potentially cancer-causing strains. Discuss with your healthcare provider to see if you are a candidate for the vaccine.

 

Oral Cancer Screenings Near Me

By committing to regular checks and adopting a health-conscious lifestyle with Dr. Stephen Yu at Denver Dental Care, patients can take control of their oral health and potentially save lives. For those who haven’t had a screening recently, make it a priority to schedule one with us today. Your life is worth the five minutes it takes to examine your mouth. In the battle against oral cancer, prevention starts with awareness and action. Don’t delay; get screened, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Your future self will thank you.

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Denver, NC 28037

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Denver, NC Dentist

The Vital Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

May 01, 2024

Oral cancer screenings are a critical element of dental health care, providing early detection of potential oral cancer signs before they develop i...