Visit Our Office To Get Your Oral Cancer Screening
We encourage everyone to get regular dental cleanings and exams.
During these visits, we are looking for any signs of potential problems in your mouth. That certainly includes tooth decay and gum infections.
But it also includes something far more important. When you visit our Chester VA dental office, we also conduct an oral cancer screening during your visit.
The reasons are clear. Early detection can make an enormous difference in your treatment if you do have this disease.
To schedule your next appointment, call the office of Walter D. Felton, DDS, today at 804-392-0792.
Knowledge Is Power
No one wants oral cancer, but it’s better to learn about it as early as possible if you do. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, the five-year survival rate changes considerably depending on when mouth and throat cancers are detected. The survival rate is between 80 and 90 percent for people’s whose oral cancer is found in the early stages. When oral cancer is found in the late stages, the survival rate drops to 57 percent.
We certainly encourage you to visit us for regular screenings as part of your routine oral care. We also want you to be aware of the signs and symptoms that could indicate oral cancer. Contact your doctor if you notice these issues:
- Numbness of the lips or mouth
- Sores that have not healed after two weeks
- Consistent hoarseness or a chronic sore throat
- Lumps in the mouth or neck
- Trouble eating and swallowing
- Red, white, or mixed patches of soft tissue in your mouth
We also don’t want to scare you. These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have oral cancer. However, it’s also better to get tested if you suspect that you could. It’s better to learn that you have a minor problem rather than to ignore a serious one.
Know Your Risk
You should be aware that doctors can identify contributing factors in 9 out of 10 oral cancer cases. While that means you can’t completely eliminate your risk of developing this disease, you can take steps to reduce your risk or the risk of people you love.
First and foremost, don’t use tobacco (or quit if you are). Tobacco has been linked to 75 percent or more of all new oral cancer cases. When combined with alcohol use, the risks of any tobacco product grows.
Speaking of which, alcohol use is itself a known oral cancer risk factor. Specifically, people who consume 21 or more drinks per week are more likely than the average population to develop oral cancer.
The third leading cause of oral cancer in the United States is a virus. HPV-16, the same strain of the human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer, can lead to oral cancer in 1 percent of the population. Health experts recommend that 12 year olds should be vaccinated against HPV. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your vaccination options.
Get Screened Soon
By getting an oral cancer screening, you are being proactive about your oral health. That’s something our team at Dr. Felton’s office in Chester, VA wants you to do. Call 804-392-0792 or contact us online if you have not yet scheduled your next dental checkup.