Nobody ever wants to hear the words ‘you’ve got cancer’- and no matter how healthy you feel and well you take care of yourself, sometimes the dreaded happens. Screening for cancer – whether breast, prostate, colon or oral can save lives and taking the steps to have the relevant examination is all that’s needed to determine your risk factor.
Is Oral Cancer Rare?
SW Calgary Dentists at Apple Dental Group want patients to understand that oral cancer is not that uncommon of a diagnosis, especially in adults over the age of 45. In 2003 an estimated 3,100 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in Canada with 1,090 deaths as a result of the disease Canadian Dental Association The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, gums and soft palate, floor of mouth and lip tissue – making it hard to self-check certain areas. Though oral cancer is diagnosed in people around the world, there are countries that have a higher incidence of this disease due to diet and lifestyles of heavy drinking and smoking. Tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption increases an individual’s risk of developing cancer, as does extensive sun exposure. Recent research has also linked being exposed to the human papilloma virus as a possible risk factor in developing oral cancer.
What Are The Warning Signs?
Oral Cancer may first appear as red or white patches, lesions, lumps or bumps in or around the mouth. In its early stage oral cancer is typically painless – with pain being a symptom only when the disease has progressed. If you have noticed or felt a change to tissues in or around your mouth that have been there for more than two weeks – contact the Family Dentists at Apple Dental Group as an oral cancer screening is recommended to begin an accurate diagnosis.
The Value of a Dental Exam
During a new patient and check-up exam your dentist will look for any abnormal changes to the tissue of your mouth and lips. If you’ve ever been curious to know why your dentist lifts your tongue – it’s to check the underside of the tongue and floor of the mouth for any abnormalities. Skipping exams or delaying seeing your dentist may seem inconsequential, but over time there is a risk for cell changes to go undiagnosed – and untreated. An Oral Cancer screen is an integral part of a dentist’s examination – and can help detect tissue concerns at an early stage.