Oral cancer affects all the areas of the mouth, including the tongue, inside cheek pockets, gums and lips. Sores and lesions can even appear far back in the throat, beyond the visible area when you peer inside your mouth. There are also other indicators of oral cancer, which your Cincinnati, OH dentist can help to look for.
Your Dentist Can Screen For Oral Cancer
Like other forms of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better. If you can get cancer diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, the outcome for recovery is much better. Whenever you visit the dentist, they do a visible check of the mouth, looking for any signs of trouble. One sign that they are looking for is lesions of the mouth, which is a telltale sign of oral cancer. There are also more signs of oral cancer, but you needn’t be overly concerned about checking for oral cancer unless you have risk factors.
Risk Factors For Oral Cancer
If you have one or multiple risk factors for oral cancer, you and your dentist in Cincinnati, OH may decide to run some additional and specific tests for oral cancer. Some of the risk factors include:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Use of tobacco, including chewing tobacco
- Over 50 years old
- History of poor nutrition
- Genetic predisposition
- Carrying HPV virus
- More than usual exposure to UV light
- Lots of time in southern zones (Florida, Texas, etc.)
Play it Safe
There is another school of thought that says that everyone should be regularly screened for oral cancer, even if no risk factors are present. If you are someone who prefers to play it safe, notify your dentist of your concerns. They will be very happy to conduct a more thorough oral cancer screening, and to run additional diagnostic tests, if needed.