April 7, 2019

Did you know that oral cancer kills almost one person every hour of every day of the year? This problem continues to grow in number of cases, which is why April has been made Oral Cancer Awareness Month. This is an effort to raise awareness on the importance of receiving routine oral cancer screenings from your dentist. As part of your regular dental checkup, you’ll get the confidence that you are healthy and cancer-free. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer in North Port and how it’s detected.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a skin cancer (melanoma) that develops in the mouth. Recently, cases of oral cancer have increased in those who are affected by HPV. You may also be at risk of oral cancer if you:

  • Routinely smoke or use tobacco
  • Heavily consume alcohol
  • Have a family history of oral cancer
  • Have experienced prolonged exposure to the sun

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer is a common disease that can be fatal, if it’s caught early on, your chances of recovery are high compared to other cancers. Many times, noticing the symptoms on your own can be hard, but you should contact your dentist in North Port if you detect:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Changes in color of soft tissue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain in your throat
  • Pain in your mouth
  • Ear pain
  • Lumps or growths

What Can I Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?

Dentists alone catch 84% of cancers early on, giving you your best chance at a full recovery. They never want to find cancer, but they take pride in ensuring the health and safety of their patients. First, they will visually examine your mouth, head, neck, throat, gums, cheeks, tongue, and any other related areas for any abnormalities or asymmetries. After, they may physically examine you by feeling around your jaw and lymph nodes for growths or warning signs. If they find anything that tips off cancer, they may order a biopsy for further investigation.

These oral cancer screenings are a part of your routine dental checkup and they only take a few minutes from start to finish. Who knew that this quick and easy screening had the potential to save your life? If you haven’t seen your dentist in the last 6 months for a routine checkup, contact them to schedule an appointment to ensure your oral and overall health.

About the Practice

Dr. Paul Stein and Dr. David R. Smith are a team of dentists who have the education and experience to treat a wide-range of dental issues. They believe in comprehensive dental care, which is why they check for oral cancer and other issues in addition to your teeth. They currently practice at Shore Dental, and they can be reached through their website or by phone at (941) 257-0826 for any questions.