Protect Your Health with Oral Cancer Screenings
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the condition by the end of 2019. Out of those cases, just over half of them will survive past the five-year-mark. The alarming death rate associated with oral cancer is largely due to late diagnosis. When detected early on, the condition is more likely to be treated successfully. Routine oral cancer screenings are an essential aspect of dental care. At Smiles of Trinity Family Dentistry in New Port Richey, FL, Dr. Gianni Franceschi performs an oral cancer screening during every dental checkup.
Benefits of Oral Cancer Screenings
Regular screenings can help your dentist detect any problematic lesions before they progress. You can benefit significantly from regular screenings, particularly if you face a high risk of developing the condition.
Regular screenings can help your dentist detect any problematic lesions before they progress.
Risk Factors for Developing Oral Cancer
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. These include:
- Age: Though the condition can develop at any age, two-thirds of all individuals diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 55.
- Gender: Overall, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women.
- Tobacco use: About 80 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer use tobacco.
- Heavy alcohol use: About 70 percent of all oral cancer cases are heavy drinkers.
- Ultraviolet light: Those who work outdoors or go to the tanning bed frequently are much more likely to develop cancers of the lip.
- Poor diet: Individuals who eat diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables have an increased risk for oral cancer.
- HPV: The human papillomavirus can increase your chances of developing oral cancer.
- Immune system suppression: Certain medications used for treating immune diseases or preventing transplant rejection may increase the risk of oral cancer.
- Lichen planus: This condition is characterized by itchy red or white spots on the soft tissues. Those with severe cases of lichen planus may be more likely to develop oral cancer.
- Graft-versus-host disease: Stem-cell transplants can trigger an immune response that attacks the individual’s own cells. In such cases, the risk of oral cancer may increase.
- Genetics: Certain inherited genetic mutations – such as dyskeratosis congenita and Fanconi anemia – carry a higher risk of oral cancer.
What to Expect at Your Appointment
During your visit, Dr. Franceschi will review your health history in detail and ask about any unusual symptoms. Next, he visually assesses the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, palate, throat, tonsils, and floor of the mouth. Finally, he palpates the head and neck, checking for any lumps, bumps, or irregularities.
If Dr. Franceschi finds something suspicious, he may perform a biopsy of the affected tissue. If the results are positive, he will refer you to a local oncologist for further testing and treatment.
Contact Our Practice Today
A simple oral cancer screening can play a significant role in protecting your overall health. At Smiles of Trinity Family Dentistry, we accept CareCredit® and LendingClub® financing options to make treatment affordable on virtually any budget. Contact our New Port Richey practice online or call us at (727) 376-6969 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from Trinity and other communities.
“The doctor and staff go the extra mile to make sure I am comfortable and understand exactly what is taking place. I have been a patient for over 5 years and am 110 percent satisfied.” Randee W.