Did you know that over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year? Oral cancer is underdiagnosed cancer that is on the rise in the United States. This month Dr. Sara Gotwalt and Dr. John Gotwalt are joining the ADA during Oral Cancer Awareness Month to encourage all of their patients to get screened for oral cancer at least twice a year. Early diagnosis can lead to effective and conservative treatment.
Like most cancers, there are certain risk factors that could increase your chance of developing oral cancer. Some are lifestyle choices, while others are genetic. Knowing your risk factors can help encourage you to self-check, and get checked for oral cancer.
- Tobacco Products– It does not matter if you smoke, vape or chew, tobacco products increase your risk of developing oral cancer. If you use while consuming alcohol your chances of developing oral cancer are even higher.
- Age– Traditionally oral cancer was most commonly found in patients over the age of 40. In recent years patients as young as in their 20s are being diagnosed. All adult patients should be sure to monitor changes in their oral health.
- Gender– Women and men both are at risk for oral cancer. Men, however, are up to twice as likely to develop cancer of the mouth.
- HPV– There has been a recent uptick in the diagnosis of HPV or the Human papillomavirus. With this trend studies have shown an increase the development of oral cancer in younger patients. If you have been exposed to or diagnosed with HPV be sure to let your dentist know.
It is important to note that any patient could develop oral cancer despite risk factors. Every oral health exam at our Lititz, PA dentist office includes a thorough oral cancer screening for your well being.
Signs & Symptoms Lititz, PA
Receiving an oral health exam and cancer screening for Dr. Gotwalt is essential for early diagnosis. Dr. Gotwalt has special training to spot early signs of cancer. However, it is also important to remain aware of any changes in the soft tissues of your oral cavity. If you notice any of the following changes in your mouth that persist for up to two weeks, be sure to contact Dr. Gotwalt as soon as possible:
- Red or white patches
- Thickening of skin
- Hoarseness in your voice or difficulty swallowing
Although these symptoms could be signs of other oral health concerns, they should be addressed as soon as possible. To schedule your oral health exam at your local Litiz, PA dentist office, contact our front office staff or schedule an appointment online.