April is World Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer, which affects the mouth and throat, is diagnosed in 132 individuals throughout the country each day and is highly curable if detected early enough. Oral cancer screenings are part of regular dentist visits, making sure your mouth is healthy and finding problems early for treatment.
What are symptoms of oral cancer?
Oral cancer shows itself in several ways. Persistent sores and irritation that do not go away with brushing and rinsing may be signs of problems forming. Lumps forming in your gum tissue, throat and cheek, erosion in your skin and red or white patches throughout your mouth may be indicators of cancer. These symptoms can be examined and properly diagnosed at your dental check-up, allowing for treatment based on the prognosis. If left untreated, oral problems can lead to difficulty eating, drinking and speaking, as well as facial disfigurement.
Several factors can lead to the development of oral cancer. People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to develop oral cancer, particularly over the age of 50. The human papillomomavirus (HPV) is leading to increased rates of mouth and throat cancer in younger people. Oral cancer forming from HPV may exhibit symptoms of swelling of the tonsils or neck. If symptoms last longer than 2-3 weeks, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a screening.
Why should I get an oral cancer screening?
An oral cancer screening is a simple process that can be done during your regular checkup or cleaning. Dr. Anna Berik and our staff will perform a full examination of your mouth, gums, and teeth with a VELscope, detecting any problem areas for further diagnosis. By using the VELscope, a blue light is shone on your gums and shows abnormalities in green, yellow and red, allowing for easy detection. The process takes about two minutes and allows for early detection, which can lead to proper diagnosis and quick treatment.
Oral Cancer Screening & Treatment in Newton & Boston, MA
If you are displaying potential symptoms of oral cancer or just want a quick check-up to make sure your mouth is free of problems, contact Newton Dental Associates to schedule an appointment today. We will set up a treatment plan to best combat your ailment for the best results. To schedule an appointment, Newton Dental can be reached by calling 617-965-0060 or filling out our online contact form.
To learn more about oral cancer, watch Dr. Berik on FOX 25 discussing the importance of screenings and early detection!