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Oral cancer begins in the oral cavity and can affect other areas such as the lips, tongue, cheeks, sinuses, and throat. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with throat and oral cancer this year.
The severity of these diagnoses can be prevented with routine oral cancer screenings.
Fortunately, our oral cancer screening dentist is here to help.
Continue reading to learn the early signs of oral cancer, as well as why oral cancer screenings are important. For more information, request an appointment with our oral cancer screening dentist in Holland, Michigan.
What are the First Signs of Mouth Cancer?
Oral cancer can be caused by tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, or too much sun exposure on the lips.
The resulting oral cancer symptoms are as follows:
- Lump in throat, mouth, or on lips
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Hoarse voice
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Numbness or pain when biting down
- White or red patches in mouth
Whether you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or not, you should make it a priority to ask our dentist about scheduling an oral cancer screening. That small step may end up saving your life.
Why are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
Early detection can be life saving, not only with mouth cancer but with any cancer in general. The best way to detect oral cancer before it gets out of control is to have an oral cancer screening done at least once a year. The oral cancer screening may seem simple and miniscule, but that one extra precaution could save your life.
Our dentist will look over the inside of your mouth for patches and sores and feel for any lumps on your cheeks, tongue, and other parts of your mouth. This is often squeezed into your regular dentist appointment because it is very simple. An oral cancer screening helps our dentist detect signs of mouth cancer or premalignant lesions.
Oral cancer is a rather dangerous type of cancer because it can spread without you experiencing any pain or symptoms. If oral cancer goes undetected in its early stages, our dentist may discover the cancer when it’s too late. Having routine oral cancer screenings done can prevent this from happening, and the importance of these screenings cannot be stressed enough.
Who is at Risk for Oral Cancer?
You have a higher risk of developing oral cancer if you use tobacco products. However, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding mouth cancer if you follow our guidelines below:
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Wear sun protection on your lips.
- Avoid all tobacco products.
Still have questions about oral cancer screenings? Don’t hesitate to bring them up during your next appointment with us. We want to help you stay informed on oral health topics so you can maintain a healthy smile.