To bring awareness to the community and help protect patients, your dentist in Pasadena is offering free oral cancer screenings with routine cleanings during the month of April! Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Many of these cases can be treated, but only if it’s caught early. By visiting your dentist, she can catch oral cancer in it’s earliest stages and provide the necessary treatment before it’s too late.
Keep in mind that your dentist is in a very unique position to protect patients from oral cancer. She’s got the technology to confirm it!
Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Individuals who use tobacco or consume alcohol excessively are at the most risk of developing oral cancer (even more so if you do both.) However, there are several other risk factors to consider as well. For example, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer. If you are over 40, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the special this month as well.
Additionally, patients should visit their dentist in Pasadena for an oral cancer screening if they:
- Have HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- Have a history of cancer in your family
- Experience prolonged sun exposure
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have poor nutrition
- Have never had an oral cancer screening before
Keep in mind that patients who don’t have any risk factors can also still get oral cancer, so it’s better to confirm it during your routine visit.
How Does My Dentist Catch Oral Cancer?
With the help of the Velscope Oral Scanner, your dentist can detect oral cancer in the head, neck, larynx, and mouth very easily. This non-invasive device uses light-based detection known as fluorescence visualization to stimulate epithelial cells and stroma. The blue light will detect any changes in morphology and composition in tissue, so if there’s a problem, your dentist is sure to find it.
While this device does not diagnose oral cancer, it does act as an adjunct to the process of detection. If your dentist believes you have signs of oral cancer, she’ll take a biopsy of the area to have it tested. This way, they can properly diagnose oral cancer if it’s present and provide appropriate treatment.
How Can I Protect Myself at Home?
While your medical professional is the only one who can confirm if you have oral cancer, it’s important to visit her if you have any suspicions of cancer in between your biannual visits. This means performing a self-exam every month in your bathroom mirror.
To do this, start by standing in front of a mirror in a well-lit room. Then, open your mouth and examine all the different surfaces of your mouth and tongue. Check the inside of your cheeks, the palate of your mouth, and the sides of your neck for:
- Lumps, bumps, thickenings, or other abnormalities
- Sores that don’t seem to heal
- Red or white patches
- Masses or lumps in the neck
Take advantage of your dentist’s special this month and get your screening for oral cancer in Pasadena today. There’s no better time than now to confirm your status and catch oral cancer early!
About the Author
Dr. Linda Sierra earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston. Since then, she’s taken many hours of continuing annual education, provided dental care for 40 years, and become a member of many dental organizations. To learn more about her oral cancer screenings or practice, contact her at (713) 943-2094 or visit her website.