Every year almost 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. The low survival rate of this disease is largely due to the fact that it often goes undiagnosed until it reaches its later stages, making it one of the most dangerous types of cancer.
When you schedule a checkup with Dr. Rowntree, you can rest assured that you’ll be receiving a full screening for oral cancer. In America, oral cancer kills roughly one person per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Early detection is key to effectively treating and combating this deadly disease.
Your Oral Cancer Screening
Seventy-five percent of all cancers in the head and neck begin in the oral cavity. It’s not easy to detect oral cancer on your own, but we’re trained on how to look for it. Our screening process is quick, easy, and lasts about five minutes, ensuring your peace of mind.
During the examination, we’ll be looking for any unusual masses of tissue. We’ll check your head, neck, and oral cavity, including your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, larynx, soft palate, and the floor of your mouth. If we find anything questionable, we’ll make sure you see a specialist right away.
Decreasing Your Risk of Oral Cavities
Incidents of oral cancer are strongly linked to the patient’s lifestyle. In fact, 75% of those cases are linked to alcohol and tobacco use. However, we still recommend all our patients to get screened, as a significant number of oral cancer patients neither smoke nor drink.
In addition to smoking cigarettes, smoking cigars and other types of smokeless tobacco products contributes significantly to a patient’s chances of getting oral cancer. The American Lung Association provides information on free programs to help patients quit smoking and key facts about using smokeless tobacco.
Signs to Watch Out For
Along with avoiding dangerous behavior, early detection is your best defense against oral cancer. Please contact our office right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
- A lump in any part of the head, neck, or oral cavity
- Any sore or discolored area that doesn’t go away within 14 days
- Ongoing pain or discomfort while you’re speaking, eating, or swallowing
These issues generally turn out to be benign, but a laboratory report is the only way to accurately diagnose oral cancer. Seeing Dr. Rowntree is the best way to rule out oral cancer and put your mind at ease.