Have you had an oral cancer screening lately? A study by the American Cancer Society estimates nearly 50,000 new cases of oral cancer in 2017, resulting in 10,000 fatalities. Only one in four of these patients have a known risk factor (such as smoking) for oral cancer.
Now, The Good News
This is pretty sobering information, isn’t it? But it’s not all bad news. Oral cancer screenings by our Orlando dentist are part of every examination.
It is estimated that screening and early detection of oral cancer may increase the survivability rate by as much as 90%.
During your semiannual check-ups, Dr. Michaelson will visually inspect the tissues of your mouth using a device called VELScope. This state-of-the-art technology allows us to easily identify any potentially cancerous or pre-cancerous tissues and check for abnormalities that wouldn’t be detected in a visual exam.
What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You
Oral cancer screenings are vitally important. Abnormal tissue that may be cancerous may appear to be completely normal to the untrained eye. For instance, what appears to be a normal white spot may be found by VELScope to be pre-cancerous. There are other early signs of oral cancer that your Orlando dentist will look for including red spots, sores, a change in your bite, or a change in the color of the oral tissues.
A Few Tips to Protect Yourself
While not all cases of oral cancer are preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of becoming a statistic:
- Don’t smoke or chew any type of tobacco product. There are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking. If you are a smoker, even with a casual habit, make the decision to stop.
- Use alcohol in moderation, limiting yourself to one to two drinks per day, at most.
- Limit your exposure to sun. You use sunscreen on your face, but do you remember to protect your lips, too? Pick up a lip moisturizer with sunscreen and keep it in your purse or glove compartment.
Oral cancer rates are, unfortunately, increasing among patients with no known risk factors such as heavy drinking, smoking, or family history. This fact makes it more critical than ever to have a screening for oral cancer at least once a year. Please call our office to arrange an appointment.