Oral cancer may not be one that we hear a lot about, however its numbers are growing and it shouldn’t be ignored. Did you know that it’s responsible for one death every hour of every day? This year alone close to 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed, and only around half of those folks will be alive in the next five years. The reason for these dismal numbers is because oral cancer is often not found until it’s in later stages and other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes. Early detection is the reason that your dentist in North Dallas is reminding you to get your oral cancer screening.
Facts About Oral Cancer
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. John Grinaldi wants patients to know more about this deadly disease because with early detection it can be successfully treated. Oral cancer is classified as a cancer that manifest in the head and neck region, excluding the brain, which has its own category for cancer. It also has a high rate of reoccurrence, which means you’re likely to develop it again if you’ve had it in the past.
Oral cancer can be tricky to diagnose on your own as it doesn’t typically cause much pain in the beginning, and it can also look very much like canker sores or other common mouth lesions. This is why consistent visits to your dentist are so important. Dr. Grinaldi screens patients for oral cancer at every six-month checkup, and believe it or not, he’s able to detect oral cancer much earlier than you can.
Certain lifestyle choices such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, and tobacco use also increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Did you know that patients who both consume alcohol and smoke have 15% greater chance of developing it? Dr. Grinaldi is happy to offer ideas and support you if you’d like to quit smoking or using tobacco.
Symptoms to be Aware of
While your routine dental checkups are your best line of defense against oral cancer, you can also be your own advocate by contacting Dr. Grinaldi right away if you notice changes in your oral health such as:
- Lumps or masses in your mouth or neck
- Discoloration or white patches on your soft tissues
- Sores or lesions that don’t heal within 14 days
- Pain when you swallow or speak
- Numbness in your face or mouth
The earlier oral cancer is detected, the better your prognosis will be and your chances for a successful recovery will greatly increase.
Contact Dr. Grinaldi for Your Oral Cancer Screening
If it’s time for your six-month checkup and cleaning, your health is too important to ignore. Call your family dentist in North Dallas today to schedule your next appointment.