Oral Cancer Screenings
If improving your health is one of your priorities this year, put an oral cancer screening on your to-do list. When you go into the dentist's office for your regular check-up, your dentist will examine your mouth for signs of health issues, but you may want to request a more thorough assessment. It doesn't require any special preparation, as it can be done as part of a routine appointment, but requesting an oral cancer screening may lead to additional tests, because the basic exam itself will not conclusively identify a disease.
During an oral cancer examination, your dentist will look for precancerous lesions or other signs of cancer — the sooner your dentist identifies signs of disease, the easier it is to treat and cure it. Oral screenings aren't a sure way to detect cancer, but they can be beneficial to patients who are at higher risk of cancer.
There are several factors that may increase your risk of oral cancer. Tobacco use, whether that's chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes, puts you at greater risk for oral cancer, as does heavy alcohol use. If you've previously had oral cancer, you're also more likely to benefit from periodic oral cancer screenings. It may seem surprising, but if you've experienced a significant amount of sun exposure in the past, you may also want to get screened — such exposure increases your risk of developing lip cancer.
By conducting an oral cancer screening and reviewing your specific risk factors, your dentist can help you make changes to your habits that may help you avoid cancer, like quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption. Patients in the Philadelphia area (ZIP code 19102) can count on the dentists at Gilbert Dental Care for all their oral health needs, including cancer screenings. To schedule a regular check-up, oral cancer screening or any other exam you need to preserve your dental health, contact Gilbert Dental Care, located on Market Street, at 215.972.0412.