April of each year marks Oral Cancer Awareness month as sponsored by various health organizations and the American Dental Association (ADA) in an effort to shed a brighter light on this often deadly disease affecting thousands each year.
Oral Cancer remains one of the deadliest cancers statistically because it is frequently diagnosed in the late stages of development. At this point, many patients are faced with less than a 50% survival rate.
Dr. Melissa Elliott provides an oral cancer screening during your routine visits to our Fallston, MD dentist office. This quick, painless exam lasts about two minutes, but could add years to your life if oral cancer is spotted in the early stage when treatment is often successful. Many patients do not even realize that they are being screened for the signs of oral cancer as Dr. Elliott performs a routine examination of the teeth, gums and neck area during their hygiene visits.
Common Signs of Oral Cancer
Although many signs of oral cancer easily go unnoticed, understanding what Dr. Elliott is looking for during your screening can help you to monitor your own oral health between visits, especially if you are a smoker or use tobacco products which places you in the high risk category.
- Sore throat or feeling of something caught in the throat
- Thickening of soft oral tissues
- Noticeable red or white patches in the mouth
- Numbness of the tongue
- Swelling in the jaw area
- Change in the fit of dentures
- Difficulty swallowing
Although some of these signs or symptoms can be an indication of a wide range of dental health concerns, it is important to come in for a visit if you notice any of these changes. Early treatment can often avoid more complex problems down the road and in the case of oral cancer, it could be lifesaving.
Oral cancer screening provides another good reason to visit with Dr. Elliott in Fallston, MD twice a year. Routine dental care not only keeps your smile healthy but can also provide the opportunity to spot early signs of larger health concerns such as oral cancer. As your dentist, we consider ourselves a partner in your overall health care, helping you to enjoy the best quality of life every day.