08 Apr The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
In 2023, it’s estimated that 54,540 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer will be reported. In fact, in 2023 alone, it’s predicted that there will be 11,580 deaths from oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. These statistics seem daunting, but fortunately, there’s technology to screen for oropharyngeal cancer—or oral cancer, for short.
Oral cancer screenings can easily get pushed to the end of the to-do list amidst a busy schedule, but the American Cancer Society encourages everyone to get screened once they reach the age of 18. In honor of National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at Koch Aesthetic Dentistry is seeking to raise awareness about oral cancer and promote the importance of screenings.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a disease that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. As the name implies, it causes abnormal areas in the mouth and grows. It can occur on any part of the mouth, including gums, lips, upper esophagus, and inner cheeks. Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. Advanced oral cancer also requires more invasive procedures to treat.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Some risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Weakened immune system
- Frequent sun exposure to your lips
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent oral cancer, but you can avoid these risk factors. Additionally, we recommend seeing your local dentist regularly, who can evaluate any changes you may have noticed in your mouth.
Who Does Oral Cancer Screening Work?
Koch Aesthetic Dentistry uses the latest dental technology to perform oral cancer screenings. One of our technologies is the oralID system, which uses fluorescence technology to detect abnormal tissue and cells in the mouth that may indicate the presence of oral cancer.
The oralID system is non-invasive and painless, which many patients worry about when visiting the dentist. You can rest assured our treatments at Koch Aesthetic Dentistry are designed to be as comfortable and stress-free as possible. During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Koch will use a special oral cancer screening light to examine the tissues in your mouth. We may recommend further testing or a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis if any abnormal cells are detected.
Self Oral Cancer Screening
It is possible for patients to use self-screening. However, there are a variety of conditions that can cause abnormal tissue in the mouth that are completely noncancerous. Most of these conditions will heal on their own, although some may need special attention.
For self-screening, use a bright line to illuminate your mouth while checking it with a mirror. You’ll need to check your gums, cheeks, lips, roof of your mouth, and tongue. Look for abnormal tissue or lumps.
Since you’re unlikely to have the special light or oral cancer screening dye to properly assess your cancer risk (not to mention training), we highly recommend reporting any abnormalities to your dentist.
What Are the Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening?
While there’s no prevention for oral cancer, you can get screened regularly. Oral cancer screenings are the most effective way to detect oral cancer in its early stages, significantly increasing the chances of successful treatment. At Koch Aesthetic Dentistry, we recommend that all adults are screened for oral cancer at least once a year.
Oral cancer screenings offer numerous benefits to patients, including:
- Early detection of abnormal cells/oral cancer: Early detection is critical to successfully treating oral cancer. A specialist may be able to provide treatment before it becomes life-threatening by detecting cancer in its early stages.
- Peace of mind: Regular oral cancer screenings can give you peace of mind and help you to maintain good oral health.
- Cost savings: Early detection and treatment of oral cancer can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly treatments and surgeries.
- Improved outcomes: Oral cancer screenings can improve outcomes by detecting cancer early and providing prompt treatment.
Raise Awareness for Oral Cancer & Get Screened This April
As a dental practice that prioritizes our patients’ health and well-being, we believe in using the latest dental technology to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care. With our state-of-the-art technology, we can screen you and your loved ones for oral cancer. This April, we encourage you to get screened and raise awareness for this deadly disease—your life may just depend on it.
Want to Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening? Call Us Today!
Proudly serving the Birmingham, AL area and surrounding communities, Koch Aesthetic Dentistry offers oral cancer screening with medical-grade technology to keep you or your loved ones healthy. Call us at 205-729-7785 or contact us online to schedule an appointment!