Posts for tag: oral cancer

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
July 20, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Oral Cancer ScreeningWhat your dentists in Westland want you to know

You don’t have to use tobacco products to have oral cancer. In fact, about 42,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancer this year, according to the American Dental Association. That’s why oral cancer screening as part of your yearly dental examination is so important. Your dentists at Carey & Aylwood in Westland, MI, want to share the facts about oral cancer screening.

Oral cancer screening is a valuable tool to help detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. Diagnosis of tissue abnormalities and precancerous tissue at an early stage leads to earlier treatment and a better outcome for you. It’s important to get treatment as early as possible because unfortunately, oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 64 percent.

Oral cancer screening is important, and it’s also easy. During your regularly scheduled dental examination, your dentist will visually check your soft tissue including:

  • Your lips
  • The roof of your mouth
  • Your gums and inside your cheeks
  • Underneath and on the sides and top of your tongue

It’s also important for you to do a self-check of your soft tissue regularly, especially if you smoke, chew tobacco, or drink excessive amounts of alcohol. You need to:

  • Check your gums
  • Pull back your cheeks to check inner cheek tissue
  • Stick out your tongue and check the back of your throat
  • Check the top, underneath, and sides of your tongue

Soft tissue changes can range from barely noticeable to obvious, and you should be looking for:

  • Red or white patches of tissue
  • Wrinkled or thickened tissue
  • Open sores or irritations that don’t heal
  • Pain or numbness in your mouth
  • Painful or swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing or moving your tongue or jaws

Oral cancer screenings are vitally important to your continuing good health, and they could save your life! For more information about oral cancer screenings and other dental topics, call your dentists at Carey & Aylwood in Westland, MI, today!

SteelyDanFoundersDeathHighlightsImportanceofEarlyCancerDetection

Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome.┬áIf you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
August 25, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral cancer  
OvercomeOralCancerWithScreeningsandLifestyleChanges

Baseball legend Babe Ruth, President Ulysses S. Grant and George Harrison of the Beatles — these three notable people from different backgrounds and historical eras have a sad commonality — they all died from oral cancer. They are a reminder that regardless of one’s wealth or fame, no one is immune from oral cancer and its deadly effects.

Like other cancers, oral cancer is characterized by abnormal cell growth capable of spreading into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Although oral cancer accounts for less than 3% of all occurring cancers, it’s among the most deadly: only 58% of oral cancer patients survive five years after treatment. This is mostly due to the difficulty of detecting oral cancer in its early stages; in fact, 30% of oral cancers have already spread (metastasized) when they’re finally diagnosed.

Early detection through careful monitoring is the best strategy for defeating oral cancer. If you have a predisposing factor like a family history of oral cancer, then regular screenings during dental checkups are a must. During an exam we may be able to detect abnormalities (like unusual white spots on the gums or jaws) that may signal a cancer in a pre-cancerous or early stage. You also should be on the lookout for a persistent sore throat or hoarseness, lingering mouth pain, a painless lump in the mouth or on the neck, or ear pain on only one side.

There are also conditions or behaviors that may increase your risk for oral cancer, like using tobacco (both smoke and smokeless) or consuming alcohol. If you use tobacco you should consider quitting it altogether; you should consider cutting back on alcohol consumption if you’re a moderate to heavy drinker. You should also avoid sexual behaviors that increase your chances of viral infection — research has found a link between oral cancer and the viral infection caused by the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV 16).

Improving your nutrition can also reduce your cancer risk. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables supplies the body with cancer-fighting nutrients, including antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by carcinogens. Studies have shown this kind of diet consistently lowers the risk of oral and throat cancer, as well as cancers of the esophagus, breast, prostate, lung and colon.

If you would like more information on oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”