According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for oral cancers has been decreasing over the past 30 years, but people are still at risk for the disease. Oral cancers are more common in men than women; however, screenings are important for all patients just in case. Better treatment options and early screenings have led to the decline of the death rate, which is good news for patients. A diagnosis of oral cancer can lead to losing your ability to chew, to talk, and/or to taste.
The average age for people to be diagnosed with oral cancer is 62, but don’t think that young people are not vulnerable. About 25 percent of the cancers occur in people under the age of 55. Smokers and heavy alcohol users have the highest risk of oral cancer, but current research is showing a connection between HPV and oral cancer.
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
The cancer screening occurs during your regular office visit. The dentist will examine your mouth, your gums, your tongue and the inside of your cheeks for lesions. Generally, there is no pain associated with this screening. Oral cancer itself may not be painful initially, which can cause it to go unnoticed. Many symptoms of oral cancers are indicative of other oral diseases. Your dentist can discuss your symptoms and options if you show signs of oral cancers or disease. If there is an abnormality, you may have to schedule a biopsy. The dentist can discuss this procedure if you need it. Following a diagnosis of cancer, you may need an MRI or CT scan too determine the extent of the cancer.
Oral Cancer Screening Is Part of Comprehensive Dentistry
When you make an appointment with Dr. Wolfe, you can count on having an oral cancer screening as part of our comprehensive dentistry procedures (Click here to watch a video of Dr. Wolfe explaining what comprehensive dentistry is and why it is important). If you are concerned about oral cancer in Rochester, MN, schedule your appointment with our office today to alleviate your concerns.