The importance of regular oral cancer screenings with a Tampa, FL area dentist

Common cancers we hear about routinely, such as breast cancer and colon cancer, are severe cancers with a high death rate. However, over 40,000 Americans are being diagnosed each year with another type of cancer that doesn’t always hit the headlines: oral cancer. Oral cancer accounts for approximately 100 new cases each day in the United States, and the rate is continually increasing. Dr. Angela Rasmussen of Gentle Dentistry in the Tampa, FL area encourages patients to take a proactive approach towards getting a proper diagnosis as early as possible with routine oral cancer screenings.

What are the causes of oral cancer?

There are two common pathways that may lead to the development of oral cancer. The first is the use of tobacco and alcohol on a chronic or habitual basis. The other is through exposure to the human papillomavirus-HPV16, often referred to as HPV. However, anyone is at risk of developing oral cancer, and routine evaluations are necessary to reduce one’s risk and diagnose cases early enough for successful interventions.

Is oral cancer screening necessary?

While oral cancer was only associated with smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco, more and more individuals are becoming susceptible to developing oral cancer. Therefore everyone needs to have oral cancer screenings regularly. Also, when cancer is caught in the earliest stages, patients have the best chance at beating it.

What to anticipate during an oral cancer screening ?

Our team at Gentle Dentistry uses the Sapphire Plus Lesion Detection Scope to look for signs of cancer. This device provides earlier detection than a physical evaluation alone. Any concerning growths or lesions in the mouth that might indicate cancer are biopsied to remove a sample and evaluate it further for cancerous cells. With a proper diagnosis, patients can then discuss their treatment options with their medical providers.

Where to go for oral cancer screenings ?

Patients in the Tampa, FL area who consider an oral cancer screening may be unsure who to visit. The dental team at Gentle Dentistry can assist! The dentist at our practice integrates oral cancer screenings during routine visits and assessments when problems arise. If you live in the community and are considering an oral cancer screening, contact our team today at (813) 734-7102 and visit our facility at 3500 East Fletcher Avenue, Suite #221.