How an Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

Could a sore or lump in your mouth mean that you might have oral cancer? Regular oral cancer screenings provided by your Lynchburg, VA, dentist, Dr. Kevin Midkiff, can help you safeguard your health.

Who gets oral cancer?

Anyone can develop oral cancer, but your risk may be higher if you:

  • Use tobacco products
  • Don't use sun protection on your lips
  • Drink alcohol excessively
  • Have the sexually transmitted form of the human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Have an immune system disease or condition

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can cause a variety of symptoms that may seem fairly minor at first. Although a lump or bump may seem like an obvious sign of cancer, other signs can be more subtle. A canker sore that doesn't heal or a white or red patch inside your mouth may actually be caused by cancer. Other signs and symptoms can include hoarseness, numbness in your mouth or face, loose teeth, trouble swallowing or painful swallowing.

How can oral screenings help me?

Oral cancer can jeopardize your life if you don't notice these symptoms or aren't aware that they could indicate a serious health issue. Thanks to oral cancer screenings, you can receive treatment promptly should you be diagnosed with the cancer. Early diagnosis may mean that you need less complicated treatments and have a much better chance for survival.

You receive an oral cancer screening every time you visit the Lynchburg dental office for a checkup. During the screening, your dentist examines your teeth, gums, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, jaw, and lymph nodes. If he notices any suspicious symptoms, he may recommend a biopsy. He may also make referrals to doctors or specialists that treat oral cancer.

Scheduling checkups every six months is the easiest way to protect your health and ensure that oral cancer is detected and treated as soon as possible. Hopefully, you'll never develop the cancer, but thanks to screenings, you'll be better prepared to tackle the disease if you are diagnosed.

Protect your health with oral cancer screenings. Call your dentist in Lynchburg, VA, Dr. Midkiff, at (434) 239-8133 to schedule your checkup and screening.