April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which is an effort to raise awareness on the importance of receiving routine oral cancer screenings. While the number of cases of oral cancer continue to increase year after year, it is thankfully one of the most treatable cancers if it’s caught early on. An oral cancer screening in North Austin is the best way to detect this disease. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer screenings and how they’re potentially lifesaving.
WHAT IS ORAL CANCER?
Oral cancer is a type of skin cancer that occurs in the mouth. Over the past 16 years, it has only grown more common. You may have a higher risk of oral cancer if you:
- Smoke or use tobacco regularly
- Heavily consume alcohol
- Have family history of oral cancer
- Have experienced prolonged exposure to sun
However, recently, the largest population being affected by oral cancer are those with HPV. This sexually-transmitted virus puts even younger, non-smokers at risk of developing oral cancer. While this disease has the potential to take your life, early detection will give you your best chance at a full recovery.
WARNING SIGNS OF ORAL CANCER
Many times, oral cancer is hard to notice on your own, but you should contact your dentist in North Austin if you notice any of these symptoms:
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Changes in color of soft tissue
- Difficulty or pain swallowing
- Sores in or around your mouth that won’t heal
- Mouth pain
- Ear pain
- Lumps, bumps, or growths
WHAT IS AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING LIKE?
Dentists alone catch around 84% of oral cancers each year. Your oral cancer screenings only take a few minutes from start to finish and it is incorporated into your routine dental checkup. It can be conducted so swiftly that you may have even had one without realizing it. First, your dentist will visually examine your mouth, head, neck, throat, gums, tongue, cheeks, and any other related areas for asymmetries or abnormalities. After, they will feel along your jawbone and lymph nodes to make sure there aren’t any lumps or bumps. If they do detect a symptom of oral cancer, they may order a biopsy for further investigation. Your dentist never wants to find cancer, however, this couple-minute check could save your life.
When is the last time that you went to the dentist’s office and received an in-depth oral cancer screening? Contact your dentist to ensure your oral and overall health.
MEET THE DENTIST
Dr. Candace Bruno is a highly-educated dentist who believes in a holistic approach to dentistry. That’s why she treats not only your teeth, but also many other problems associated with your oral health. She is experienced at detecting cancer early on to keep her patients healthy. She currently runs her own practice, and she can be contacted through her website or by phone at (512) 372-8484 for any questions.