Oral cancer screenings can help improve your chances of detecting any abnormal tissue or cancer early on.
(PRWEB) April 15, 2015
As part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April, the California Dental Association is encouraging visiting a dentist for an oral cancer screening, which consists of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck.
“Oral cancer screenings can help improve your chances of detecting any abnormal tissue or cancer early on,” said CDA President Walt Weber, DDS. “When cancer is caught early, it can be easier to treat.”
Oral cancer can affect any area of the mouth, including the lips, gums, the hard or soft palate, cheek lining and tongue. Oral cancer often starts as a small white or red spot or sore somewhere in the mouth and often goes unnoticed until it has spread into another part of the body.
Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. Knowing the early signs can also increase survival. Early signs include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
- A color change of the oral tissues.
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area.
- Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
- A change in the way the teeth fit together.
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cavity and pharynx cancer this year. The two most common pathways by which people develop oral cancer are through exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) — the same virus responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women — and through tobacco and alcohol use.
All forms of tobacco contain high concentrations of cancer-causing agents, and these substances subject users to increased cancer risk not only of the oral cavity, but also the pharynx, larynx and esophagus. Other traits of long-term tobacco users include stained teeth, halitosis, or bad breath, gum disease and a dulled sense of taste and smell.
For better oral and overall health, and to help reduce the risk of oral cancer, eliminate all tobacco use, brush with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day, floss regularly, avoid sugary drinks and visit a dentist for regular checkups.
For more information, oral health resources and help finding a CDA dentist, visit cda.org.
About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 26,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association.
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