The Short Answer: Yes
Recent studies indicate that oral cancer claims one life an hour in the US. That means that out of the ~51,000 people who get oral cancer yearly, one in five will die.
These startling statistics seem daunting, but according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one of the most important ways to successfully treat oral cancer is an early diagnosis. That is why Dr. Alfano at Balboa island Dentistry will screen for oral cancer as part of your routine appointment.
Most patients believe that tobacco use is the only risk factor for oral cancer. Evidently, it’s only one of the many conditions that may increase your risk for the disease. Other dangerous factors include:
It is very important that you continue to see Dr. Alfano twice a year for routine checkups. During your visit, ask Dr. Alfano about your oral cancer screening. This is essential because diagnosis in the earliest stages is easier to cure.
However, it doesn’t hurt to know the warning signs that can indicate oral cancer. Please contact Dr. Alfano if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Dr. Alfano’s oral cancer screening is a two-part process. First, he will visually inspect your face, neck, and mouth for any abnormalities or discolorations. The next step Dr. Alfano will take is a physical inspection of your mouth. With his gloved hands, he will feel around the inside of your mouth. The whole time, he will be feeling for any lumps, bumps, or abnormalities that might be a sign of oral cancer or precancerous conditions.
If Dr. Alfano finds anything out of the ordinary, he might have you return in a few weeks for a follow-up appointment to see if anything has changed. He might also decide that a biopsy is necessary. A biopsy is a procedure where your dentist or doctor removes tissue from the concerned area and sends it to a lab to be tested.
Oral cancer symptoms can be painful, but the pain isn’t the only signifier. If you notice anything that matches the characteristics that we mentioned above, contact our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Alfano today.