April is Oral Cancer Awareness month- have you been screened?
Oral cancer symptoms 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
Many of the early signs or symptoms of oral cancer can be noticed by Dr. Richard Van Gurp during routine preventive care in his Charlotte dental office: 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. Van Gurp, who screen for oral cancer during routine visits, are trying to reduce the number of patients who fall into this category.
Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- and can save your life! Dr. Van Gurp will use ViziLite technology to screen for oral cancer in addition to performing a visual exam. ViziLite combines the use of a special solution and light that enables Dr. Van Gurp to identify abnormal cells within the oral cavity.
Preventive dental care is even more important when patients consider that these visits offer Dr. Van Gurp 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.
If you have been away from the dentist’s chair for some time, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment to restore your oral health- it may save your life!