When imagining a dental checkup, oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease tend to get most of the public's attention, but regular oral cancer screenings are also an important part of your oral and general health routine. According to statistics, over 49,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. It is the most common type of head and neck cancer and is responsible for over 9,000 deaths per year due to the fact that is frequently diagnosed at more advanced stages. Accordingly, routine oral cancer screenings are recommended as part of a preventive dental care plan and are available from the Okemos, MI office of Dr. Eric Eby.
Oral Cancer Screenings in Okemos, MI
During a routine dental exam, the dentist can also screen for oral cancer. Like many forms of cancer, oral cancers are most treatable when they are caught as early as possible. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is roughly 6 out of 10 patients, due to the fact that it usually goes undetected until it has reached a more advanced stage. When diagnosed and treated early, however, the survival rate typically jumps to around 80%.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling a checkup and professional dental cleaning every six months, at which point the dentist will also examine your tongue, lips, gums, and the inside of your cheeks for signs of abnormalities such as sores, lesions, or abnormal changes to the tissue. If any suspicious tissue or growths are detected, the dentist may order a biopsy, where a sample of cells are removed and sent to the lab for testing.
You should also get in the habit of routinely checking for any changes or sores that do not heal on their own. Oral cancer is relatively rare and more common in people over the age of 40 with other risk factors, but it can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Find a Dentist in Okemos, MI
To learn more about the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment options for oral cancer, contact our Okemos, MI office today by calling (517) 349-9860 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Eby.