Have you had your yearly oral cancer screening? If not, then see Dr. Kathleen Geipe and her team in Salisbury, MD. This experienced dentist performs these simple assessments with each routine cleaning and professional exam. As the saying goes, "Forewarned is forearmed." In the battle against this deadly malady, a brief, painless check of your soft oral tissues yields valuable information.
An important medical exam
Of course, you're used to your Salisbury dentist checking many aspects of your oral health. Do you have cavities, gum disease, a poor dental bite, stains, or other problems? Dr. Geipe and her team want to see all patients, regardless of age, every six months to detect and prevent these issues before they run out of control and cause tooth loss.
Oral cancer is one of the problems she looks for. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) says more than 50,000 Americans receive the diagnosis of this potentially deadly cancer every year. In large part, survival depends on early detection. That's where your Salisbury dentist comes in.
Detecting oral cancer
Here's what Dr. Geipe looks for in your semi-annual oral cancer check-up:
- Areas of swelling or discoloration
- White or red patches
- Lumps and structural asymmetry
- Sores which have not healed
She'll inspect your tongue, under your tongue, the back of your throat, and the insides of your cheeks. If she is concerned about a certain area, she may look at it with a special light to differentiate between normal and abnormal tissues. Your screening includes gentle palpation (manual touching) of the lymph nodes in your neck. Any abnormal findings will be reported to your primary care physician for follow-up.
Risks factors for oral cancer
Likely, you can guess at many of them. Many, but not all, are lifestyle-related:
- Cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, and marijuana usage
- Excessive alcohol usage
- Sun exposure
- Poor oral hygiene
- Age over 45
- Being male
- Exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, typically transmitted through sexual activity
- Light skin
- A diet deficient in Vitamin A, fruits, and vegetables
Changing some habits can go a long way in reducing your risk for oral cancer.
Come see us
Knowledge about all aspects of your oral health is so valuable. So, Dr. Kathleen Geipe asks you to come to her Salisbury, MD, office faithfully for your semi-annual cleaning and exam, including your oral cancer screening. Your dentist and her dedicated team want you to have the healthiest possible smile for life. Phone us for an appointment at (410) 543-0599.