At 4th Avenue Dental Centre, your friendly general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, we are committed to providing comprehensive dental care, including oral cancer screenings for all of our patients. Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people every year, but with early detection and treatment, it can be effectively treated.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is a simple, painless procedure that your dentist can perform during your regular dental check-up. During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will examine your mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and other areas of the oral cavity for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. Your dentist may also feel for lumps or irregularities in your neck, as these can be a sign of cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.
If your dentist finds any suspicious areas, they may recommend further testing, such as a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue from the suspicious area and sending it to a lab for testing. This can help determine whether or not the area is cancerous.
Oral Cancer Screening: What You Need to Know
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and other areas of the oral cavity. It’s estimated that over 50,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. While oral cancer can be serious, the good news is that it’s highly treatable if detected early. That’s why it’s important for everyone to undergo regular oral cancer screenings.
Who Is At Risk for Oral Cancer?
Anyone can develop oral cancer, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk. These include:
- Tobacco use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or using smokeless tobacco products like snuff or chewing tobacco can significantly increase your risk of oral cancer.
- Heavy alcohol use: Drinking alcohol in excess can also increase your risk of oral cancer.
- HPV infection: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to oral cancer.
- Age: Oral cancer is more common in people over the age of 55.
- Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer.
- Sun exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase your risk of lip cancer.
Preventing Oral Cancer
While some risk factors for oral cancer, such as age and gender, are beyond our control, there are steps we can take to reduce our risk.
Here are some tips for preventing oral cancer:
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products: If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting is the best thing you can do for your oral and overall health.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women should have no more than one.
- Protect your lips from the sun: Wear a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of 30 or higher when you’re outside for prolonged periods.
- Get vaccinated against HPV: The HPV vaccine can help protect against certain strains of the virus that are linked to oral cancer.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases.
Get in touch with our friendly dental professionals at 4th Avenue Dental Centre in beautiful Calgary, Alberta today to schedule your next dental appointment.