Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral Cancer Screenings in Seneca
What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is an examination performed at our office to look for signs of cancer in or around your mouth. The purpose of the screening is to find it early so treatment can be easier. Oral cancer screenings at Hood Family Dentistry are straightforward. We perform them during your biannual exam and look for abnormalities in your oral cavities, including your neck, nose, and throat.
Common Signs of Oral Cancer
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer may vary from person to person. Common things people notice are mouth sores or persistent pain that won’t go away. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you might want to consider coming in to get screened for oral cancer.
Oral cancer can result in one or more lymph nodes in the neck to swell. This can cause neck pain and a sore throat. It’s possible to feel the lumps that slowly get bigger.
Bad breath can happen for many reasons. When an oral cancer tumor grows and forms an ulcer, bacteria in your mouth could cause an infection. That can result in a foul smell that won’t go away even after you brush your teeth.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Many different types of cancer can result in weight loss, including oral cancer. Since head and neck cancers make eating and swallowing more difficult, a person may not eat as much, resulting in unintentional weight loss.
Difficulty Moving Your Jaw or Tongue
Tumors in the bones, muscles, or nerves in the jaw make it difficult to open your mouth and move your jaw. It could also lead to speech problems and difficulty swallowing.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer screenings are recommended for all patients as a precautionary measure, especially if you’re at a greater risk of developing it. The following factors increase your chances of getting a diagnosis:
As with other forms of cancer, excessive exposure to your face or lips can cause oral cancer. Those who work outdoors or are exposed to the sun for prolonged periods are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Wearing wide-brimmed hats or chapstick with SPF should help protect you.
A large percentage of patients with oral cancer have used some type of tobacco product. They all contain cancer-causing agents and other addictive and poisonous substances. Quitting is the best way to lower your chances of getting oral cancer.
People over the age of 40 are most at risk of developing oral cancer. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about aging, but caring for your oral health and getting screened for cancer often can help.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that affects millions of Americans. Cancers linked to this disease are generally found in the back of the throat or at the base of the tongue and tonsils. You can lower your risk of HPV and oral cancer by practicing safe sex and limiting your number of partners.
How to Minimize Your Risk
Although you can’t fully prevent yourself from getting oral cancer, you can take the necessary steps to reduce your chances of developing it. Other than limiting sun exposure and avoiding tobacco, you’ll want to get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain the necessary vitamins and antioxidants to strengthen your immune system and protect you from illnesses, including cancer. You’ll also want to cut back on alcohol.
Want to Learn More About Oral Cancer Screenings in Seneca, SC?
If you think you may be at risk of developing oral cancer, you don’t want to skip your oral cancer screenings. They could possibly save your life or make your treatment much easier. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, give Hood Family Dentistry a call today!