FACT: Almost 42,000 cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in 2013.
FACT: Oral cancer took the lives of almost 8,000 Americans in 2013.
FACT: About 1.4% of all cancer deaths can be attributed to oral cancer.
These facts reported by the National Cancer Institute are scary, to say the least. The good news is that early detection can greatly improve the outcome of this often-stealthy disease. Dentists play an important role in identifying precancerous and cancerous lesions and in helping patients adopt lifestyle habits that lessen the risk of oral cancer.
In Virginia Beach VA, the doctors at Schrumpf & Herman Family Dentistry are your allies in the fight against oral cancer. Dr. Gregory Schrumpf and Dr. Barry Herman deliver comprehensive dental care for whole-mouth and whole-body health.
What Your Dentist Can Do
At every initial dental exam and all checkups, your Virginia Beach dentist will examine the soft tissues of your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Because oral cancer can also impact the face, head, and neck, the doctor will look for any suspicious lumps or lesions in those areas. Symptoms can be hard for patients to identify in the early stages. A thorough oral cancer screening exam can shed light on tissue changes that warrant further investigation.
What You Can Do
- Tell the doctor if you have a family history of oral cancer, as this can increase your risk of developing the disease.
- Be honest about tobacco and alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption of alcohol can elevate a person’s oral cancer risk by a factor of 6. Smoking and drinking can raise it by 15.
- Stop smoking. Non-smokers aren’t immune to oral cancer, but smoking greatly increases your chances of getting it.
- Lessen your sun exposure and use a sunscreen to deter damaging rays.
Contact Schrumpf & Herman Family Dentistry today to learn more about oral cancer and to schedule an appointment with a Virginia Beach dentist committed to your oral and overall health.