Fresno Dentists Discuss Oral Cancer Detection

Oct 11th, 2012 | By | Category: Geriatric Dentistry, Oral Cancer, Patient Education

fresno_oral_cancer_preventionAlthough cancer is discussed quite a bit these days, oral cancer is not as often reviewed as closely as it warrants. Over 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with the illness every year, and late detection largely accounts for a 50% mortality rate. Fresno dentists Dr. Alex Denes and Dr. Claudia Denes discuss the signs of oral cancer and the importance of early oral cancer detection.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer includes cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue, sinus, throat, and the roof and floor of your mouth. It is usually marked by lesions or tumors within the oral cavity. However, since it does not cause discomfort in its early stages, it is often not caught until the cancer has metastasized into another area of the body, such as the neck or head. While late detection translates into a nearly 50% mortality rate within five years, early detection can raise those odds to 80 or 90%.

How a Dental Checkup Can Save Your Life

Aside from checking your oral cavity for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, a dental checkup at your Fresno dentist’s office also includes a thorough examination for early signs of cancer. These signs include hard-to-see lesions on the tissues within your mouth, as well as lumps and bumps on the lips, gums, or other oral tissues. Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that refuse to heal after two weeks or more should also be noted, and you should see a doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs on your own.

Risks for Developing Oral Cancer

While oral cancer can affect anyone, there are certain factors that can place you at greater risk than normal. Typically, the most notorious factor for oral cancer is smoking or chewing tobacco. Another factor, and a hindrance to early detection, is advent of HPV16. This virus contributes significantly to the incidence rate of oral cancer, mainly in the back part of the mouth where typical warning signs (swelling, discoloration, etc.) are not visible. To learn more about oral cancer and its risk factors, or to receive an oral cancer screening, make an appointment with your Fresno family dentists by calling Fresno Dental Studio at (559) 297-1800. Located in the 93720 area, we proudly serve patients from Fresno, Clovis, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

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