Posts for tag: Oral Cancer
Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.
As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.
Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.
Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
Oral cancer screenings are an important part of your regular dental checkups. During your checkup, the dentist will examine your lips, tongue, and inside of your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Screening for oral cancer each time you go in for a dental exam can lead to early detection of oral cancer or other oral health problems. The earlier any health problem is detected, the better your prognosis. At Glen Ridge Dental Arts in Glen Ridge and Montclair, NJ, Dr. Paul Dionne is your dentist for dental checkups that include oral cancer screenings.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is usually diagnosed in adults over age 40 but can occur in younger adults as well. In fact, a diagnosis of oral cancer diagnoses in younger adults has been increasing in recent years due to the spread of HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus. Since oral cancer can affect adults of all ages, it is important to see a dentist who routinely provides oral cancer screenings as part of your regular dental checkup. As your Glen Ridge and Montclair dentist if oral cancer screenings are included in your dental exam.
Signs of oral cancer include white or red patches in the mouth, usual sores in or around the mouth, lumps, and swelling. When screening for oral cancer, your dentist should examine the lips, the top and bottom of the tongue, and entire interior of the mouth. If the dentist discovers any potential signs of oral cancer, a sample of the suspicious area can be taken for testing to determine if cancer cells are present. Early diagnosis of oral cancer can prevent further oral health problems and significantly improve your chances of beating the cancer.
Oral cancer screenings should not be overlooked. Regular screenings can lead to early detection of oral cancer or other oral health problems. Screening for oral cancer is already part of your regular dental exam at Glen Ridge Dental Arts. To schedule a dental exam with Dr. Dionne, your Glen Ridge and Montclair, NJ, dentist, call Glen Ridge Dental Arts at (973) 748-7790.