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Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a severe mouth disease that affects over 49,000 Americans each year. There isn’t one way for it to occur, there can be multiple factors as to why it can develop in a person, but smoking is often connected to a person developing oral cancer, as well as heavy alcohol use and sun exposure to the lips. All of these things will significantly increase the risk of one developing the mouth disease and at East Village Dental Centre we want everyone to take the necessary preventative measures to protect themselves from oral health problems.
One of the things we do to help both prevent and spot oral cancer in patients is an oral cancer screening. This procedure is done for patients who are suspected to be at high risk for developing it. Here is what you can expect during an oral cancer screening.
What Goes on During an Oral Cancer Screening?
As previously mentioned, an oral cancer screening is done for patients who have a higher risk of developing the disease. We collect this necessary information with questions regarding smoking and drinking habits It is important to always answer honestly because that is what will enable us to help if you do indeed have oral health problems you may be unaware of at the time.
The screening itself will involve checking and feeling for bumps in the mouth. We will also be looking for patches that appear white and/or red in the throat and in the mouth. After this step, we will move on to checking tissue using a blue dye that will highlight spots that may have cancer cells.
If there are any signs of oral cancer, or if we feel any additional testing needs to be done, we will collect a small tissue sample to check cells have mutated. Oral cancer can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated, which is why we believe screening is especially important.
Preventative Measures to Lower Your Risk of Developing Oral Cancer
There is a shockingly high number of patients that develop oral cancer and also smoke - this is one of the reasons why smoking is highly discouraged in dentistry (and the medical field overall). Smoking puts a person up to 5 times more at risk of developing the disease and even more so if heavy alcohol consumption is involved.
Getting sunlight is healthy, but ensure that protective measures are taken when enjoying a nice day outside. We recommend applying lip balm if you know you will be outside on a sunny day for an extended period of time, this will both help prevent chapped lips in the short term and lower your risk of developing oral cancer over the long term.
Talk to Us If You Have Concerns
At East Village Dental Centre we are here to help you with your oral health. If you have any concerns or simply want to come in for a standard check-up, you can contact us by calling our office at 773-341-9325. Acting on your feelings when it comes to your health is a good thing.