It’s oral cancer awareness month! Have you been screened?

Oral cancer is a growing health concern world wide that could be dramatically reduced through routine screening that is performed in most dentists’ offices, including Columbus dentist Dr. Albert Caves.

Many of the early signs or symptoms of oral cancer can be spotted by Dr. Caves in his dental office during routine preventive care: early symptoms are usually subtle and difficult for patients to notice. Oral cancer is on the rise globally and unfortunately leads to approximately 8,000 deaths per year. While smoking and tobacco use has long been considered the major cause of oral cancers, the rise of the HPV virus has led to an increase in the number of cases worldwide and is now considered to be a leading cause of this type of cancer. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages and is difficult to treat and cure. Dentists like Dr. Caves, who screen for oral cancer during routine visits, are trying to reduce the number of patients who fall into this category.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer can include:

  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Lump in the throat or neck
  • Persistent earache- often in both ears
  • Numbness in or around the mouth
  • Lesions/sores in the oral cavity that do not go away

Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- and can save your life! Dr. Caves will use VELscope technology to screen for oral cancer in addition to performing a visual exam. VELscope uses a tissue fluorescence light that enables Dr. Caves to identify abnormal cells within the oral cavity.

Preventive dental care is even more important when patients consider that these visits offer Dr. Caves and his staff the opportunity to spot developing health issues in their earliest stages, offering the best chance for successful treatment. Preventive care not only helps to support good dental health, but is a part of maintaining overall health and well being: there is often a correlation between a patient’s oral health condition and the state of their physical health.

Be a part of the solution to this health issue- get screened!