Did you know that an estimated 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year? Roughly 10,000 people will die from it. Clearly, oral cancer is a serious problem that deserves our attention. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time for you to pause and reflect on how you can protect yourself from this devastating disease. One way you can do so is by visiting your dentist for an oral cancer screening in Melbourne.
What Does a Screening Involve?
Dr. Trantham, your dentist in Melbourne, is never in a hurry to get his patients out the door. He takes his time with every person he sees, which means that he can thoroughly examine you for any signs of oral cancer. During your routine checkup, he’ll perform a visual and tactile examination of your cheeks, lips, tongue, gums, and the surrounding areas. If he spots any areas of concern, such as an unusual lump or tissue discoloration, he’ll help you arrange for further testing. There is no need to be afraid of an oral cancer screening. The process is quick, painless, and completely noninvasive.
Who Should Get Screened, and How Often?
There is a common misconception that only people who use tobacco can develop oral cancer. It’s true that tobacco is a major risk factor for this disease, but there are a number of other circumstances that can contribute to the cancer’s development. Heavy alcohol consumption, prolonged sun exposure, a poor diet, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) can all lead to oral cancer. Even if you think you’re free from all of oral cancer’s risk factors, you should still get screened because anyone, regardless of their lifestyle or age, could develop this disease.
The standard recommendation is that adults get screened for oral cancer once a year. If you’re diligent about keeping up with preventive dental care, you’ll likely get screened twice a year at your routine checkups. Individuals who smoke or who have other major risk factors may benefit from more frequent screenings.
How Do Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives?
All types of cancer are easier to treat when they are in their earliest stages, before they have the opportunity to spread to distant parts of the body. Unfortunately, the early signs of oral cancer are often so subtle that you may not notice them right away. A professional’s trained eye could spot the cancer well before you know anything is wrong, thus drastically increasing your chances of kicking the cancer to the curb.
Has it been more than a year since your last oral cancer screening? If so, now is the perfect time for you to schedule an appointment with your dentist. A simple examination could save your life!
About the Author
Dr. James Trantham is an accomplished general dentist who strongly believes in giving his patients top-quality care and undivided attention. He screens every patient for oral cancer at their regular checkups. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Trantham or our practice, or if it is time to schedule your next appointment, contact us today at 321-723-3477.