During routine dental examinations at St. Mary’s Dental in Mechanicsville, we look for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer refers to cancers in the tongue, mouth, lips, jaw, and throat.
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 39,000 people will get oral cancer this year.
Consider this sobering news from the Oral Cancer Foundation:
“The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).”
When we perform an oral cancer screening we look for red or white spots, bleeding, lumps, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth, any color changes, and mouth sores. Is is important to tell us if your bite has changed, if you have sores that won’t heal, and prolonged hoarseness. An earache in only one ear can also be an indicator.
The existence of any of these symptoms does not mean you have oral cancer, as they can be caused by any number of other conditions. However, if we discover something unusual we may order additional tests, or refer you to a medical doctor for another opinion.
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