Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
While dentists are known for professional cleanings, teeth whitening, and cosmetic dentistry services, another common service is oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer is dangerous and can be avoided by abstaining from tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption, however, there are a number of causes of oral cancer you should be familiar with.
At North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, we perform oral cancer screenings for every one of our clients during their checkups. This makes visiting your dentist often even more important, as treating oral cancer is more difficult as it progresses.
Before you contact our Alpharetta dental office, let our knowledgeable dental staff fill you in on the importance of oral cancer screenings.
Common Causes of Oral Cancer
As with most forms of cancer, one of the leading causes for oral cancer is tobacco use. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 75% or all oral cancer cases are associated with tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes or cigars causes the mucous membranes to become irritated, which can lead to oral cancer.
However, smokeless tobacco, like chew or snuff, also presents dangers as the tobacco comes in direct contact with the mucous membranes. When tobacco use is combined with heavy alcohol consumption, the risk for oral cancer increases even further.
Another common cause of oral cancer these days is from HPV16. Unfortunately, HPV16 is becoming more prevalent as a cause of oral cancer. It is important to get vaccinated early on to avoid the risks that accompany HPV.
Dangers of Oral Cancer
As with the case of any form of cancer, loss of life is incredibly concerning. Oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of around 60%. While this is better than most forms of cancer, it is still extremely high. This makes avoiding the potential causes of oral cancer imperative.
Luckily, there are ways to help prevent oral cancer from developing. Obviously, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can go a long way in preventing oral cancer from developing. You can also conduct a self-exam once a month. If there are any abnormalities, like enlarged lymph nodes, that don’t heal on their own within 14 days, you should visit Dr. Gurley as soon as possible.
If cancer is found during your oral cancer screening, treatment will be necessary. The cancerous growth is often removed, followed by radiation to ensure any remaining cancerous cells are destroyed.
Oral Cancer Screenings in Atlanta, Georgia
If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening, don’t worry. When you visit North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Gurley does for every patient during checkups. If you are in need of a routine dental checkup, or any of our dental services, you can contact us by calling us at 770.664.1244 to schedule an appointment today.