Preventive dental care is not only the cornerstone of maintaining life long oral health, but can also be an important part of monitoring overall physical health and well being. During regular preventive care visits with Chesapeake dentist Dr. John Cranham, patients receive an oral cancer screening as part of a thorough dental exam.
Oral cancer is on the rise globally and in the U.S. over 8,000 deaths per year are attributed to this disease. Tobacco use and smoking are common causes of oral cancer, but the rise of the HPV virus has also been a contributing factor in the rise of oral cancer rates world wide.
When caught early, oral cancer can frequently be treated successfully. However, oral cancer has less than a 50% 5 year survival rate when diagnosed in the later stages. Sadly, many patients are diagnosed only after the cancer has progressed due to the typical lack of symptoms early on. Regular preventive dental care is an important factor in the early diagnosis of oral cancer. Dr. Cranham can notice changes in the tissue of the oral cavity when patients come in twice per year for visits: this can indicate a possible health concern. It is also important for patients to be aware of the common symptoms of oral cancer, which Dr. Cranham and his staff can discuss during visits.
Symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- Persistent hoarseness
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Lump in the throat or neck
- Persistent earache- often in both ears
- Numbness in or around the mouth
- Lesion or sore that does not go away
Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- and can be life-saving! If you have been avoiding the dentist for some time, now is the perfect time to schedule a routine dental exam- restore your oral health and get screened for this growing health concern.