With every six-month check-up, Dr. Edward Dooley, dentist in Wall Township, screens his patients for oral cancer. Why does he do this? The Oral Cancer Foundation documents almost 50,000 new cases of oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancer in the US each year. Unnoticed and untreated, the five-year survival rate is low. However, with early detection and screening in Wall Township, oral cancer cure rates increase dramatically.
What You Should Know
Oral cancer can strike anyone, and as such, screening should begin in young adulthood (age 18). However, men between the ages of 40 and 60 seem to receive the diagnosis more frequently. Unfortunately, the number of women with oral cancer has risen in the past decade; in fact, the number of confirmed cases has tripled. These numbers concern Dr. Dooley and his team and incentivize them toward extra vigilance with all their patients.
Additionally, they warn people about lifestyle issues that may lead to oral cancer. Amazingly, some people get oral cancer without having any of the usual risk factors. However, the known risks include chewing tobacco, smoking, a suppressed immune system (during cancer therapy or infection with HIV), excessive alcohol consumption and repeated and prolonged sun exposure and sunburns.
The Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, is linked to oral and cervical cancers, too. Finally, poor nutrition seems to play a role in developing this deadly malady. Consumption of fruits and vegetables every day not only promotes weight control and cardiovascular health, but also, it boosts oral health in every way, including reducing cancer risk.
Oral Cancer Screening
Routine oral cancer screening is so easy and fast, you will barely notice it. Dr. Dooley does a simple visual inspection of all your soft tissues: gums, cheeks, tongue, and back of the throat. He’s looking for any sores, lumps or red or white patches. Additionally, he looks at your face to note any signs of imbalance. He palpates, or feels, the lymph nodes in your neck and throat area to detect any changes or lumps.
Dr. Dooley will ask if you have any of the following:
- Soreness in the mouth that does not resolve within two weeks
- A long-lasting sore throat or hoarse voice
- Difficulty in swallowing
- One-sided earache
In addition, he uses the innovative VELscope visualization tool for an even clearer view of your oral mucosa. This special fluorescent light illuminates the soft tissues and helps the doctor see any irregularities. Examination with VELscope takes just two to three minutes and is completely comfortable.
Be Vigilant about Oral Cancer
You can be worry-free if you are routinely screened at your six-month oral exams and cleanings.
Plus, don’t hesitate to contact Dooley Dental right away with any concerns that may arise between check-ups. Vigilance with your oral health is so important so you can have years of great smiles.