Oral cancer continues to be a growing health risk for several reasons: the increasing prevalence of the HPV-16 virus and lagging rates of screening despite the fact that an oral cancer screening is both inexpensive and painless. At Coastal Cosmetic Dentistry Dr. Sinclair performs an oral cancer screening as part of preventive dental care to look for the early warning signs of oral cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation expects that over 45,000 new diagnoses will occur this year, an increase over 2014 numbers and a continuation in rising oral cancer rates. Understanding the possible signs of oral cancer can lead to an early diagnosis, but in many cases they can go unnoticed until a thorough examination by Dr. Sinclair reveals subtle changes in the soft tissues of the mouth which can signal possible cancerous growth.
Common signs of oral cancer
- Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
- Persistent hoarseness
- Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
- Difficulty swallowing
Spotting oral cancer in the early stages is extremely important because late stage disease is often very difficult to treat and cure. The survival rate for oral cancer has been hovering around 50% largely due to the high percentage of late stage cases because of the overall lack of screening.
Be a part of the solution- and reduce your risk of being diagnosed with a late stage disease. Be sure to visit Dr. Sinclair in Virginia Beach, VA twice a year for preventive dental care and a screening for the signs of oral cancer. Dr. Sinclair can also discuss the risk factors associated with oral cancer with you if you have concerns based on your health history or lifestyle habits.
Oral cancer risk factors
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Race and ethnicity: more prevalent among the black population
- Exposure to HPV virus through lifestyle habits
Oral cancer screening is just another great reason to be sure that you visit our Virginia Beach, VA dentist office twice a year. Preventive dental care not only supports a good quality of life, but may be life saving!