Oral cancer is an insidious malignancy affecting people of all ages and walks of life. That's why here at Lynch Dental Center in both Chicago and River Forest, IL, every patient 18 and older receives an oral cancer screening as part of their six-month exam. Read on to learn how this screening from Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch, or Dr. Frances Lynch, could end up saving your life!
Risk factors for and symptoms of oral cancer
The Oral Cancer Foundation cites these risk factors for developing cancer of the mouth, lips, salivary glands, or back of the throat:
- Age (over 40)
- Gender (males over females by a ratio of two to one)
- Tobacco usage (both smokeless forms and cigarettes)
- HPV exposure (the Human Papilloma Virus is sexually transmitted and on the upswing among young people)
- Sun exposure (along with artificial tanning)
- Alcohol abuse
As symptoms develop over time, people may notice a lump or sore which does not resolve, hoarseness of voice, difficulty swallowing, unilateral earache, or a sore throat which just does not resolve.
Alarmingly, early symptoms can go unnoticed. That's why routine screening—visual inspection and painless palpation of soft oral tissues and lymph nodes in the neck—is so important.
Cure rates increase to 80 to 90 percent when dentists and doctors detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. So, when you come to Lynch Dental Center, you can rest assured that you are creating the best possible chance for a healthy mouth!
Additionally, you can employ some simple lifestyle changes to increase your chances of avoiding oral cancer altogether. These changes include:
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Stopping all tobacco usage
- Increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Avoiding high-risk sexual behaviors (such as having multiple partners)
- Seeing your dentist or primary care physician any time you are concerned about a sore or lump in your mouth, throat, or neck
Don't worry about oral cancer
Instead, be proactive—get your semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Lynch Dental Center! When here, you will know that Drs. John, Sheila, and Frances Lynch will check you carefully every time. Remember, it's only what you do not know that can harm your health!
If it's time for your six-month examination, please call one of our offices for an appointment. For the Chicago office, phone (312) 263-3235, and for River Forest, call (708) 366-6411.