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Unless it’s spotted early by a dentist, oral cancer often goes unnoticed by other medical professionals until it has spread to the rest of the body. That’s why it’s so important to visit a dentist like Dr. Molly Hottenstein who offers regular oral cancer screenings as part of every checkup. Learn more below, or contact us online to get an appointment now.
understanding the basics
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a term used to refer to any cancer affecting the lips, cheeks, jaw, and other areas of the mouth. These cancers are also sometimes called “oral and oropharyngeal cancer.”
Because these types of cancer usually develop in the mouth first, dentists are an important first line of defense against them, and can help you recognize them early. Compared to other types of cancer, oral cancer is relatively rare and the prognosis is good if it’s caught early before it spreads. However, oral cancer can be very hard to treat if it spreads (metastasizes) throughout the body.
Oral cancer affects men at about twice the rate of women, and tends to develop more commonly in people over the age of 50. There are also certain risk factors that can lead to a higher likelihood of developing oral cancer, such as:
- Tobacco use of any kind including smoking, chewing tobacco, snus and more
- Excessive alcohol use
- Heavy sun exposure, particularly to the lips
- HPV (human papillomavirus) infection
- A weak immune system
How do I know
if i have oral cancer?
Depending on the type of oral cancer or mouth cancer, you may notice symptoms like:
- Sores in your mouth or on your lips that won’t heal
- Reddish or white patches on the inside of your mouth
- Any type of growth or lump in your mouth
- Mouth or ear pain
- Difficulty swallowing or pain while swallowing
However, it is important to note that these symptoms may not always be signs of cancer. Sores such as canker sores and cold sores could be mistaken for cancer.
You should always rely on a professional for diagnosis and proper treatment. Dentists such as Dr. Hottenstein are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, and can help you determine if you need to seek further care.
how does an
oral cancer screening work?
First, Dr. Hottenstein will ask about your overall health, and if you’ve noticed any changes in your mouth or are having issues swallowing, have experienced any hoarseness, or have any other symptoms of oral cancer.
Dr. Hottenstein will then examine your oral tissue closely to look for any lesions, bumps, or other abnormalities that could be cancerous. She may use a flexible, high-resolution intraoral camera to get an up-close look at different parts of your mouth and check for signs of cancer.
Contact us today
schedule your checkup!
At Molly Hottenstein Orthodontics, we’re the best choice if you need routine oral care and oral cancer screenings in Wyomissing. So don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a call at (484) 258-2299 to get an oral cancer screening and get peace of mind in Wyomissing.