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Every year, over 50,000 North Americans are diagnosed with oral or throat cancer, which has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.
Because oral cancer is typically painless in its early stages and often goes undetected until it spreads, many patients aren’t diagnosed until they are already suffering from chronic pain or loss of function. However, if detected early, the doctor and our team at John R. Gagné, D.D.S. want you to know that early detection of oral cancer improves the survival rate to 80 percent or more.
If you visit our Waterbury, Connecticut office regularly, you have probably received an oral cancer screening and didn’t even realize it. That’s because the exam is quick and painless; the doctor and our team check your neck and mouth for signs of oral cancer such as discolorations, lumps, or any changes to your tissue. Oral cancer is typically found on the tongue, lips, gums, the floor of the mouth, or tissues in back of the tongue.
Factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:
In between your visits to our office, it is critical for you to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and give us a call if these symptoms don’t go away after two weeks.
During your next visit, the doctor will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Waterbury, Connecticut office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!
Dr. Gagné, a member of the American Dental Association and the Academy of Laser Dentistry, is committed to providing his patients with comprehensive dental care.