Oral cancer is a growing health concern with cases rising annually around the globe. Although there are several contributing factors, one of the most important is the lack of routine screening. Sadly, a large percentage of diagnosed cases are late stage disease which, if caught earlier, could have been largely curable.
The survival rate continues to hover around 50% due to the overall lack of screening that contributes to late stage diagnosis. This is especially true of developing economies where access to dental health care is very limited.
Spotting oral cancer in the early stage is the goal of Chapel Hill, NC dentist Dr. James Furgurson. We perform an oral cancer screening during routine preventive dental care in an effort to find disease in the early stage and give patients the greatest chance for a full recovery. It is also important to be aware of the common signs of oral cancer and understand the risks that certain lifestyle habits can present. Patients who use tobacco products of any kind have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco products or have a family history of oral cancer, mention this to Dr. Furgurson so that we may educate you further on possible health concerns and be aware of your higher risk status.
Common signs of oral cancer
- Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
- Persistent hoarseness
- Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
- Difficulty swallowing
Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- many patients do not even realize that their dentist has performed the screening while they did a thorough dental exam. Twice yearly visits to our Chapel Hill family dentist office will enhance our ability to spot early signs of cancer as we develop a more in depth knowledge of your oral health.
Routine dental care not only supports a good quality of life, but can be life saving!