Catch Oral Cancer Early at Watkin Dental Associates
Early Detection Is Crucial for Beating Oral Cancer
At Watkin Dental Associates in Fitchburg, we offer oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent forms of cancer today, but it doesn’t receive much attention compared to breast and lung cancer. Many cases go undetected until they’re more advanced because it’s not a risk in the public’s mind. We at Watkin Dental Associates want to stop oral cancer in its tracks by diagnosing it early, and that’s where oral cancer screenings come in.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing oral cancer. Some of them are out of our control, such as age and sex. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and it is far more common in people over 45. But there are plenty of risk factors that we can control, the biggest of which is tobacco. A whopping 85% of oral cancer cases are linked to some kind of tobacco use (even e-cigarettes). The next biggest avoidable risk factor is frequent, heavy alcohol consumption.
A few of the less-obvious risk factors include getting too much sun (which can cause lip cancer), HPV, and neglecting your oral hygiene, particularly if you also smoke. You can eliminate this risk factor by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental appointments!
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Unfortunately, even people with none of these risk factors will sometimes develop oral cancer anyway, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:
- A sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal
- Red or white patches inside the mouth
- Unusual lump on lip, mouth, neck, or throat, or strange thickness in the cheek
- Persistent sensation of having something stuck in the throat
- Numbness of mouth or tongue
- Difficulty with chewing or swallowing
- Chronic bad breath
If you do have one or more of the risk factors for oral cancer, getting regular general health screenings can catch it before you even notice any symptoms. The earlier oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to beat it.
Where Does the Dentist Fit In?
Another way oral cancer is caught early is at regular dental exams! In addition to checking your teeth for cavities and your gums for signs of gum disease, we can spot many of those early symptoms of oral cancer while we’re looking at your mouth, which is just one more reason why it’s so important to keep scheduling your dental appointments!
What Does an Oral Cancer Screening Entail?
One of the best things about oral cancer screening is that it’s so quick and easy that we can do it during your regular cleaning appointments at Watkin Dental Associates. The screening mainly consists of us checking the tissues of your mouth for any irregularities, such as unusual textures or white or red spots. Everyone should be screened for oral cancer regularly, but it’s particularly important for those with risk factors such as smoking, tobacco use, previous history of oral cancer, alcohol use, and age.
Schedule Your Next Appointment at Watkin Dental Associates Today
Oral cancer screenings have been shown to increase the survival rate to 80% and better, which is why it’s so important to have this simple test done. Call us at (978) 345-6919 or email us to schedule your dental exam at our Fitchburg practice, and we will be able to screen you for oral cancer at the same time he is making sure you’re staying cavity-free! You can also learn more about us by checking our business page, and make sure to check the map before you head our way.