Now is the perfect time to schedule a comprehensive dental exam and an oral cancer screening with Libertyville Dental Associates. Because April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, it makes sense to get in on the act and schedule an appointment for a through dental examination with the team from Libertyville Dental Associates.
Four Important Things to Know about Oral Cancer
1. There are Different Stages of Oral Cancer
Like other cancers, oral cancer is based on four stages using the staging system known as TNM. T means tumor size; N means the mass is in the lymph nodes while M means the tumor is spreading to your entire body.
If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer based on a comprehensive dental exam and an oral cancer screening, your dentist will recommend additional tests via your primary care physician. These texts could include:
- PET Scans
- MRI and CT Scans
2. Heavy Drinkers and Tobacco Users have the Highest Risk of Oral Cancer
Pipes, cigarettes, snuff, cigars, and Hookah pipes are all in the same category. Oral cancer doesn’t discriminate when it comes to types of tobacco.
Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, you are in the high-risk category for oral cancer. In fact, you along with heavy drinkers are 100 times more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don’t smoke or drink.
3. Sun Worshippers are at Risk for Oral Cancer
If you love the sun but often go without sunscreen, you are also at risk for oral cancer. Even if you go to the tanning salon, you are at risk for lip cancer. Exposing yourself to too much sun makes you more susceptible to oral cancer than people who don’t sunbathe.
Stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you do indulge, wear a hat, a lip protector and plenty of sunscreen.
4. Early Detection and Diagnosis is Essential
Your dentist is usually the first person to detect any abnormalities such as mouth sores, lesions, lumps, bumps, or patches. When you schedule regular comprehensive dental checkups and oral cancer screenings, you have a better chance of early detection and diagnosis.
While most symptoms aren’t cancerous, it is important to make sure. Your dentist or your primary care physician should investigate anything that doesn’t go away or seems off.
A Comprehensive Dental Examination
During your comprehensive dental examination, which includes a review of your medical and dental health, your dentist will also conduct an oral cancer screening. During your oral cancer screening, the team from Libertyville dental will check your throat, neck and head for any irregularities.
Your tongue, cheeks, back of the throat, the roof of your mouth and your entire cavity is checked for anything that looks suspicious. If your dentist does discover something, a biopsy is taken that will be sent to a lab for further examination.
Celebrate Oral Cancer Awareness Month with a Checkup
If you haven’t seen your dentist in some time, call, send a text or a DM to Libertyville Dental Associates. It could mean the difference between being healthy and unhealthy.