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Oral Cancer Screenings from our Fairfax Dentists
There are many good reasons to see your dentist on a regular basis, but one of the most important is that it could save your life. Oral cancer is a condition your dentist can detect during an oral cancer screening as part of your regular exam.
Oral cancer may refer to cancer anywhere in the oral cavity, including the tongue, throat, and lips. Oral cancer screenings should be part of routine dental exams for all patients, but especially those who are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Though anyone can develop oral cancer, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances. These may include:
- Use of tobacco products and/or alcohol
- Being a male over age 55
- Genetic predisposition
If any of these factors applies to you, it is even more important to be sure you are seen for regular exams and screenings.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
It is important to note that many oral cancer symptoms can also be symptomatic of other conditions. However, it’s wise to see your dentist promptly if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sores that do not heal
- Red or white patches
- Lumps, rough patches, or other irregular growths
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, or feeling as if something is caught in the throat
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings consist of an in-depth, thorough exam of the patient’s oral cavity as well as the throat. During the screening, the dentist searches for sores, patches, lumps, or any other abnormal findings. If anything suspicious is found, further testing can be done with tools such as biopsies. If a cancer diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be developed and implemented quickly.
An oral cancer screening is a simple and quick exam, but it can have a major impact on your life. The sooner cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin. Make it a priority to have an oral cancer screening with your regular dental exam. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or it has been awhile since you visited the dentist, give us a call, or request your appointment (new patients welcome!).