Oral Cancer Screening in Jaffrey, NH
Monadnock Dental is proud to offer oral cancer screenings for our patients in Jaffrey, NH. Oral cancer is a severe disease that can often be successfully treated if it is caught early. Therefore, we highly recommend that all of our patients undergo oral cancer screening as part of their regular dental checkups.
What does oral cancer screening entail, and how can it help prevent this deadly disease?
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer develops in the mouth or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Oral cancer is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged adults, although it can occur at any age. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment, so it is essential to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of oral cancer. Contact our team at Monadnock Dental Associates to get your first screening scheduled.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Most people are familiar with the significant symptoms of cancer, such as a lump or mass, fatigue, and weight loss. However, cancer can also affect the mouth, causing symptoms that may not be immediately obvious. For example, oral cancer can cause changes in the way your teeth fit together and soreness or numbness in your gums. You may also notice changes in your sense of taste, and you may have difficulty swallowing or have a sore throat.
Oral cancer may cause changes in the appearance of the mouth, such as a growth or ulcer. Oral cancer is more common in men than women, and smokers are at an increased risk of developing the disease. If you experience any of the symptoms we’ve listed, it’s essential to see your dentist for a diagnosis.
How is oral cancer screened?
Dentists are often the first line of defense for oral cancer screenings. Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health and play a vital role in detecting cancer early, while it can still be treated.
Oral cancer screening starts with a visual examination of the mouth, lips, and tongue. Our dentist will look for any lesions or growths that may be suspicious. We will also feel the lymph nodes in the neck to check for swelling.
We may order a biopsy if anything suspicious is found, such as abnormal tissue. A biopsy involves taking a small tissue sample from the affected area for further testing and scanning for abnormal cells. In some cases, additional imaging tests may also be ordered.
Treatments for Oral Cancer
Oral cancers can be challenging to detect in their early stages, but several treatment options are available for those diagnosed with the disease. For example, surgery is often used to remove the cancerous tissue, and radiation therapy may be used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Chemotherapy is also sometimes used as a treatment for oral cancer. This type of treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells, and it may be given before or after surgery. The side effects of oral cancer treatments can vary depending on the type of treatment used, but they may include pain, swelling, and difficulty swallowing. In most cases, however, the side effects are temporary.
The critical thing to remember if you are diagnosed is to stay calm. There are treatments available that can help you get back to normal and optimal oral health.
Prevent Oral Cancer with These Tips
Here are some preventative measures to lower your risk of developing oral cancer.
- Quit smoking and avoid tobacco products. Tobacco users are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer, accounting for about 75% of all cases.
- Other risk factors include excessive alcohol consumption. Avoid drinking alcohol too much and too often.
- If you have human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, you may be at a higher risk, so it’s essential to know if you have it.
- Limit your exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation by wearing sunscreen on your skin and lips and protective clothing when outdoors.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Understand your family history and ask if anyone has been diagnosed with oral cancer.
One of the best ways to prevent oral cancer is early detection by obtaining a regular oral exam. Oral cancer can affect both your teeth and smile and your life. Our support team at Monadnock Dental Associates can give you peace of mind and ensure you have optimal oral health.