It Is Mouth Cancer Action Month — When Was Your Last Screening?

Certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, leukemia, and prostate cancer, get a lot of attention in the media. Mouth cancer, however, is not talked about as often as it should be. This serious disease afflicts tens of thousands of people each year. In fact, at the beginning of 2019, it was estimated that roughly 53,000 Americans would be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer this year. Since November is National Mouth Cancer Action Month, we are here to discuss the importance of getting screened for this dangerous disease with the goal of increasing mouth cancer awareness in Tysons Corner & Potomac.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SCREENINGS

“I have never smoked or chewed tobacco. I do not need to get screened for oral cancer.” Many patients say that, but most people do not know that tobacco use is not the only major risk factor for this disease. For example, the human papilloma virus may lead to mouth cancer. Prolonged sun exposure and heavy alcohol consumption can also contribute to its development.

Even if you are relatively sure that you do not have any of the risk factors for mouth cancer, you should still get screened. Anyone, regardless of their age or lifestyle, could develop cancer. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Also, keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be very subtle at first. You might have no idea there is a problem until a trained professional alerts you to it. If you wait to get checked until the signs of cancer are obvious, the disease may have already progressed to the point where it will be extremely difficult to treat.

THE SCREENING PROCESS

Most dentists include an oral cancer screening as part of a routine checkup. The process is simple and quick. The dentist uses their hands and eyes to look for signs that cancer is developing anywhere in your tongue, cheeks, lips, or throat. They will also take a look at your neck. Some things they will check for include:

Additionally, your dentist may ask if you have experienced any of the following:

If your dentist believes there is cause for concern, they will help you to arrange for further testing.

Have you been screened for oral cancer lately? If not, make an appointment with your dentist in Tysons Corner & Potomac as soon as possible. A simple screening could save your life!

About the Author

Dr. Sheila Mazhari earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale before she moved to our area. She is passionate about helping her patients have healthy, attractive smiles. If you would like to get screened for oral cancer, Dr. Mazhari and our team would be happy to help you. Contact one our offices to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.

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