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Have You Been Screened for Oral Cancer?

The American Cancer Foundation estimates that 53,000 individuals are diagnosed each year with oral cancer. Oral cancer can affect individuals of any sex or race, but the foundation notes that men are twice as likely to develop this cancer than women.

In an effort to provide comprehensive care for your whole mouth (and overall well-being), Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro of The Dental Center of Hercules provides oral cancer screenings.

If you haven’t been screened yet, here’s what you need to know.

When do you need an oral cancer screening?

An oral cancer screening is important even if you don’t feel any symptoms of oral cancer. A screening is a simple, painless evaluation that checks for any warning signs of a potential problem. Ideally, you should be screened every six months — during your regular, routine appointments.

Who needs an oral cancer screening?

Although heavy alcohol use and any tobacco usages (smoking and/or chewing tobacco) can increase the risk of oral cancer, the American Dental Association recommends that everyone is screened for oral cancer, not just those who engage in high-risk activities like smoking. 

The ADA’s stance on oral screening was updated in October 2019 to ensure that all dental patients receive the care they need.

Why oral cancer screenings are important

Oral cancer screenings are the best way to detect potential cancers before they spread. Early detection and treatment leads to more effective treatments. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, later discovery of a cancer increases the risk that the cancer has spread to other sites in the body, making treatment more complex.

The Oral Cancer Foundation encourages screenings, especially for those who have already overcome oral cancer. That’s because individuals who have a previous bout with oral cancer have an increased risk (20%) of developing a future oral cancer. Screenings help catch any other red flags as soon as possible.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer — which is sometimes called mouth cancer or oral cavity cancer — refers to any cancer that affects the mouth. This includes the lips, the gums, the roof of the mouth, or the area under your tongue. 

It’s common to think that a bump or lump is the only sign of cancer, but when it comes to your mouth, that’s just one of the symptoms. Some of the common symptoms include:

Because not all symptoms cause pain, you might realize a sore or white patch is a sign of cancer. That’s why screenings are so important. During your screening, Dr. Teodoro examines all parts of your mouth in just a few painless minutes. 

Concerned about a suspicious spot?

If you notice any of these symptoms, even before your next appointment, don’t hesitate to give us a call. These symptoms — including wiggly teeth or sores — should be evaluated, and even if your symptoms are not cancerous, we can provide the care you need to address those concerns at our Hercules, California, clinic.

Contact our office today at 510-254-3328. You can also schedule an appointment on our website today.

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