Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Cancer Screening
Why your dental examination with our Calgary dentist is so important.
Oral cancer begins in the cells of your mouth and can appear anywhere in your oral cavity including your gums, cheeks, lips, tonsils and throat. Early detection of oral cancer allows for the best possible prognosis and, if caught early enough, can save your life.
At your dental check-ups, our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, will screen you for signs of oral cancer. Because the early signs of oral cancer can often be detected by a visual inspection, this is one of the reasons it is so important to attend for your dental examination with our Calgary dentist twice per year. In addition, it is important for you to regularly inspect your own month for any possible signs of oral cancer.
Some possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer to watch for include the following:
Not all lesions, bumps and growths are oral cancer. If you notice any lesion, ulcer or sore that does not resolve within two weeks, or if you have any concerns whatsoever, you should make an appointment with our Calgary dentist for a dental examination so that the area of concern can be checked and oral cancer ruled out as a possibility.
Know Your Oral Cancer Risk
Unfortunately, no one is exempt from the risk of developing cancer, including oral cancer. Knowing your risk factors, however, empowers you to take steps that can reduce your overall lifetime risk.
At your next dental check-up, ask our Calgary dentist about potential risk factors related to oral cancer, which include the following:
tobacco use (including cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco)
excessive alcohol consumption
ultraviolet exposure from the sun
a previous human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
a diagnosis of certain other types of cancers
a family history of neck and head cancers
having a diet deficient in vitamins, minerals and proper nutrients
your genetics and your gender (statistically more men than women develop oral cancer)
a previous diagnosis of leukoplakia, which appears as a thick, whitish patch of tissue inside your mouth
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Things To Think About
Know Your Risk Factors
taking action can reduce your risk
Although no one is exempt from the risk of oral cancer, if you have any specific risks (see above), consider checking your mouth every few weeks for any possible areas of concern. You can also take actions that can reduce your overall lifetime risk of oral cancer, for example, by not smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption.
Check Your Mouth
it's easy to do once per month
Just as it’s important to brush your teeth twice per day and floss daily, it’s also important to regularly check your mouth, tongue and gums for any possible signs of oral cancer. An easy way to remember to check your mouth is to make it a habit and check your mouth at the same time every month.
Make Your Appointment
if you notice anything unusual
If you notice a new lesion, sore, lump, bump, patch or anything unusual on your lips, tongue, gums, or anywhere in your mouth that does not resolve itself within two weeks, don’t hesitate to make your appointment with our Calgary dentist so it can be looked at and further action taken if necessary.