At Bishop Family Dental, we encourage you to schedule an oral cancer screening today. If you have not yet undergone this life-saving preventive procedure, please do so. Oral cancer is a disease not frequently discussed. There are only a few campaigns, fundraisers, or walks to promote awareness and support its treatment. Nevertheless, oral cancer is still deadly, killing one person every day in the United States. The mortality rate is high because most people who have it do not know they have it and seek medical help only when the cancer has presented painful symptoms in its advanced state. And just like with other cancers, the chances of getting cured critically depends on early detection and treatment. Therefore, the earlier we find signs and symptoms of cancer, the better are our chances of curing it.IS HAVING AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING COMMON?
Unfortunately, no. Most people do not undergo oral cancer screening, which is why the cancer is only detected at its advanced stages. If you’ve never been screened for oral cancer, we recommend that you visit our Salt Lake City, Utah, dental practice for a screening right away. Otherwise, you can have this done once every six months. If you live in or near the 84124 area, call 801-274-2500 to schedule an appointment with our office.WHAT DOES AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING ENTAIL?
At Bishop Family Dental, we will look for signs of abnormal tissue. These signs include visible symptoms like hard lumps, red and white bumps, rough patches, or changes in the position of your teeth. Much of the screening is done visually. However, Dr. Daniel Bishop will also feel your cheeks and the inside of your mouth while wearing gloves. This is to detect and identify any strange or hard lumps in these tissues. The examination will be thorough because oral cancer can impact any area of the mouth. And with the constant improvement of technology, we may use other testing methods and instruments when we screen you. Concurrently, we will be glad to discuss the process with you when you visit our 84124 dental office. Don’t worry, we will make every effort to be gentle during the screening so that you feel comfortable during it.HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE SCREENED FOR ORAL CANCER?
We recommend that you visit our Salt Lake City, Utah, dentist office for your first exam. Based on what we see and your risk factors, we will determine how frequently you need to be examined. If we determine that you are high-risk, we would recommend an annual screening.WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO GETTING ORAL CANCER?
It is commonly thought that only older men get oral cancer. Also, in the past, more men than women used to get oral cancer by a 10:1 ratio. But as time passed, the ratio has changed as the habits of men and women become more similar. More women are now drinking alcohol and smoking, such that the ratio is now 2:1. Some strains of the HPV virus also cause oral cancer according to more recent research. This is bad news because the HPV virus can be contracted by people as young as teenagers. This would mean that both men and women, whether seniors or teens, could get this terrible disease. This has changed how we regard this cancer and who would need to be screened for it. Dr. Daniel Bishop recommends oral cancer screening for all adults. You should be particularly diligent about having yourself screened if you smoke, drink alcohol, or know you have the HPV virus.DO YOU TREAT ORAL CANCER?
No, we do not treat oral cancer at Bishop Family Dental. We help to catch it. And catching cancer early is of critical importance. It can literally save your life. If you regularly visit us for routine checkups and cleanings, we would be familiar with how your mouth looks in its healthy state. Because of this, we could better identify any abnormalities. If we find anything we suspect to be pre-cancer or cancer, we could perform a biopsy. This is where a portion of the suspect tissue is taken from your mouth to be tested in a lab. In some cases, we may refer you to an oncologist in the 84124 area who can perform more specialized tests and discuss your treatment options.WHEN TO CALL US
You could take the first step in catching oral cancer. Dr. Daniel Bishop recommends that you spend a few seconds examining your mouth after brushing your teeth. You can do this by running your tongue along your cheeks, gums, and the roof of your mouth. If you feel any lumps, bumps, or rough patches, take note of how large it is and where you felt it. Do it again a few days later. If what you first felt appeared because you were sick or eating abrasive food, that symptom should disappear after a few days. When it doesn’t, call our office to schedule an oral cancer screening and examination. Another thing to look out for is teeth that move for no apparent reason. If your tooth moves out of place, something must be pushing it. Occasionally, that something is cancer.HOW CAN I PREVENT ORAL CANCER?
The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk is to stop chewing tobacco products. Historically, chewing tobacco poses the biggest risk for developing oral cancer. While chewing tobacco does not affect your lungs as badly as smoking cigarettes, it does increase your risk for oral cancer by 60 times! Speaking of smoking, you should also stop smoking any tobacco products. And while drinking small amounts of alcohol does not seem dangerous, drinking often or binge drinking puts you at greater risk. You also need to limit your exposure to the sun and prevent sunburns. Regarding the HPV virus, consult your general physician to determine if you are eligible for the vaccine. You might also want to be tested for HPV to determine if you already have the virus.