Every patient over the age of 18 should be screened for oral cancer when they visit the dentist. The earlier oral cancer, like most cancers, is detected, the better the chances for survival.
There are plenty of myths surrounding this type of cancer, from how often it occurs to who is at the highest risk. Whether your next Arlington, TX appointment with the dentist is focused on root canals or another procedure, take the time to ask about oral cancer and discuss your risk factor.
Myth #1. Oral Cancer Is Rare
Unfortunately, oral cancers happen at a higher rate than many other types of cancers, including liver cancer and cervical cancer. Men have even higher rates than women for this type of cancer.
Myth #2. Oral Cancer Occurs Only in Smokers
Although smoking and alcohol use increase the risk factor in developing oral cancer, these habits are not the only causes. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a commonly transmitted STD that accounts for a large number of cancers occurring in the mouth and tonsils. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV has become so prevalent that most sexually active people will get it.
Myth #3. Oral Cancer Occurs Only in Older People
Although older patients are certainly at risk, oral cancer related to HPV is more prevalent in young males.
Myth #4. Oral Cancer Is Easy to Spot
Patients often have no idea they have oral cancer when it is spotted by a dentist. Patients who skip dentist appointments often receive no screening for oral cancer whatsoever. The earlier it can be discovered, the better the outcome for patients.
Myth #5. People Have a High Awareness of Oral Cancer
Most people know very little about this insidious disease, with some surveys showing that the vast majority of adults in the United States knows nothing at all about oral cancer. Only about a third of people believe they have ever been screened for oral cancer.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, there is no time like the present to make an appointment. Call Rush Creek Dentistry in Arlington, TX, whether you are looking for a dentist to treat root canals or if you are due for a routine examination that includes an oral cancer screening, call us today!