Oral cancer is a disease that afflicts an average of more than 40,000 Americans every year. It is difficult to diagnose in the early stages, since the most obvious symptoms tend to appear only in the later stages of the condition. To make matters worse, early detection is critical if the disease is to be treated successfully. Obviously, patients need help to properly detect the condition before it reaches the more advanced stages. Not surprisingly, your dentist actually offers your best defense against oral cancer.
Why Early Detection Matters
Oral cancer is widely recognized as being among the most aggressive diseases affecting human beings. When it is not detected early, the consequences can be dire indeed. When identified early on, patients can often make a full recovery after treatment. Overall, however, the prognosis for these patients is less optimistic. Since most cases of oral cancer are not recognized early, roughly one out of every two patients diagnosed with oral cancer dies within five years of being diagnosed.
Your dentist can help to mitigate that danger. Regular oral cancer screenings should be an integral part of your dental regimen. You should have your dentist provide these screenings during routine checkups, to ensure that any oral cancer that develops is discovered at the earliest possible point in time. According to the American Dental Association, however, only about 60% of the American population even bothers to undergo an annual checkup, much less an oral cancer screening.
How You Can Help Yourself
Naturally, there are things that you should be doing to help safeguard your oral health. First and foremost, you should avoid any and all behaviors that could increase your risk of contracting the disease. That means no smoking or chewing tobacco, no excessive use of alcohol, doing everything you can to reduce your exposure to the sun, and focusing on healthy dietary choices and regular exercise.
At the same time, you need to personally be aware of the potential danger signs:
- Problems with tongue movement, or with swallowing
- Continuing cough or hoarseness
- Bleeding inside the mouth
- Loose teeth, or pain in the jaw
- Discolored patches in the mouth
- Oral ulcers that last for more than a few days
If any of these symptoms appear, contact your dentist promptly.
An oral cancer screening should be considered an essential part of your dental health care regimen. The fact is that American deaths from oral cancer average roughly one per hour every year. Many of those patients could enjoy a better chance of survival if their cancer is discovered in its earliest stages, and the best way to do that is to rely on professional screenings from competent dentists.
At Ebenezer Dental, we know how important it is to regularly screen for oral health issues like cancer. With the best dentist in Midtown Manhattan by your side, you can rest assured that you will have the health care partner you need to ensure that oral cancer is diagnosed as early as possible so that any needed treatment can be successfully administered. To find out more about how we can help you with your oral cancer screening needs, contact us today.