Drs. Wahab, Solarte and Grover of Galleria Dental Arts carefully screen their patients for oral cancer–a prevalent and potentially deadly cancer which of the lips, tongue, the roof of the mouth and back of the throat. Detected early on, oral cancer is treatable and curable. Your dentist in Manassas at Galleria Dental Arts wants you to know all you can about oral cancer during Oral Cancer Awareness Month and to receive regular screenings for your best dental and overall health.
The Whys and Hows of Oral Cancer
Unfortunately, oral cancer crosses every demographic line. Anyone can get it, no matter the age, gender or walk of life. However, some people seem more prone to oral cancer, including middle-aged men. However, many more women have begun getting oral cancer over the past ten years or so.
How do people get oral cancer? Well, there are a number of risk factors which include smoking, chewing tobacco, alcohol abuse and sun exposure. Individuals who have contacted the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have additional risk. Strangely, though, the Oral Cancer Foundation says that about seven percent of oral cancers are associated with none of these risk factors. In other words, oral cancer simply develops with no known reason for it.
Screening for Oral Cancer
Unfortunately, many oral cancers are diagnosed in very late stages, dropping the five-year survival rate to around 45 percent. If detected early, though, survival rates improve to 80 to 90 percent. That’s why the team at Galleria Dental Arts performs semi-annual oral cancer screenings with every routine dental check-up and cleaning.
Dr. Wahab and his associate dentists use the VELscope visualization tool in addition to visual inspection of the mouth. The VELscope examination is quick and comfortable and illuminates areas of concern in the mouth with fluorescence, allowing the dentist to inspect suspicious areas when they just begin developing.
What Can You Do?
Well, there are a few things. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk. Research seems to indicate that a diet lacking in these important foods increases the incidence of oral cancer.
Plus, be aware of mouth sores and spots that don’t heal. If you detect lumps, swellings, red or white patches or sores that do no not resolve within two weeks, see your primary care physician or Galleria Dental Arts. Hoarseness, a persistent sore throat or an earache on one side, pain or trouble swallowing may indicate cancer as well.
Finally–and this is an obvious one–quit smoking. See your doctor for real help in the form of a smoking cessation program.
Oral Cancer Can Happen at Any Time
So, be sure you and your family get screened by getting your semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Galleria Dental Arts. Also, if you have questions about oral cancer, please don’t hesitate to contact Galleria Dental Arts. We’re here to make you aware of all you can do for your best oral health.