Let’s talk skin cancer

A reason to see the dentist regularly

summer-beach

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. If caught early, it’s also among the most preventable and curable.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer. The causes of skin cancer are unknown. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to the sun is considered to be a high risk factor. Biologically speaking, melanoma can manifest anywhere melanocytes exist. This can be our skin, mouth, heart or other tissues. Do you know what that means?! This means that sun screen doesn’t always protect you against melanoma! Maintaining regular visits to the dentists is important to catch cancer early.

What are the symptoms?

Early detection is the key with any cancer.  Some symptoms that should cause for concern if you experience them are:

– a frequent sore throat
– difficulty chewing and swallowing
– red or whitish patches within your mouth
– changes in the shape, size or color of skin
– any new pigmentation on your face, head or neck

A dentist is able to see more areas of your mouth at a closer view than you are able to. Oral cancer screenings allow an early diagnoses of cancer.

How often do I get an oral cancer screening?

During your routine cleaning and exam, the dentist reviews your mouth and neck to look for any tissues abnormalities and changes. This exam usually takes place without you even being aware of it. If you would like, your dentist would be happy to to walk you through the exam during your next appointment. This oral cancer screening allows dentists to be able to detect cancerous lesions early.  Some dentists have additional equipment such as a  special medical screening device. This device illuminates the tissue within your mouth with a special light. If your doctor doesn’t have this device, he/she may be able to refer  you to a physician who does.

IT IS WORTH THE CHECK-UP

Your health is worth protecting. It is important to visit your dentist regularly for an oral health screening. Your dentist plays a critical role in the early detection and treatment of oral cancer concerns. Get that checkup!

Thanks for being a valued patient and friend! ❤ 🙂

Written by Alyssa Foltz
Video of Oral Cancer Screening – Dr. Oz – http://www.youtube.com

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