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23456 hawthorne Blvd #210 Torrance, CA 90505
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Stop Oral Cancer by Seeing Your Dentist!

man cleaning teeth

The dentists at Blue Coast Dental do not only have your oral health in mind. In fact, Dr. Hamzehpour and Dr. Galvan are specially trained to catch other systemic issues that you may not otherwise think about. This includes the potentially life-threatening condition known as oral cancer.

When caught in the early stages, oral cancer can actually be quite treatable. Unfortunately, it’s more often caught in the late stages of its development, making it far more difficult to remove. As a result of these late stage diagnoses, the 5-year survival rate is as low as 65 percent. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it can be as low as 39 percent.

The good news is routine visits to Blue Coast Dental can make all the difference when catching the early signs of oral cancer. While our office is trained to catch this condition, we wanted April’s newsletter to also focus on the importance of monthly at-home exams. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, don’t let oral cancer get the best of you!

Why Early Diagnosis Matters

Dental checkup

It may sound alarming, but around 60 percent of oral cancer diagnoses occur in the late stages of the condition. Late-stage diagnosis is the main reason why the mortality rate for oral cancer has gotten so high. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, with nearly 10,000 people dying annually. Therefore, your best bet against oral cancer is committing to routine appointments now and preventing expensive medical treatments later in order to treat it.

In fact, the survivability rate goes up significantly when you catch it in its earlier stages, typically around 80 to 90 percent. Considering the fact that most individuals only see their general practitioner once a year and their dentist twice a year, our office is in a unique position to catch oral cancer more often than general doctors.

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Causes, Risks, & Symptoms to Know

Dentist speaks with patient

If you want to reduce your risk for developing oral cancer, you’ll first want to take a look at your current habits. If you drink excessively or use tobacco products, especially in tandem, your risk for developing oral cancer goes up as much as 100 times according to the American Cancer Society. However, genetics can also play a role. For example, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Additionally, those over 45 years of age do carry a higher risk.

Visiting our office will help you confirm if oral cancer is present or not. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also perform routine exams on your own time every month. After finding a mirror in a well-lit room, such as your bathroom, open your mouth, check under your tongue and examine your oral structures for the following symptoms:

  • White or red patches on your gums
  • Lumps or thickenings on your cheek
  • Mouth sores that do not heal after a two-week period
  • Sore throat or hoarseness that lasts for several weeks
  • Mouth numbness or consistent dental pain
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing or moving your tongue or jaw

How Our Office Protects You

Woman holding cheek

In the past, you may not have even noticed that we were completing an oral cancer screening. However, Dr. Hamzehpour and Dr. Galvan pay close attention to the oral tissues in your mouth, head and neck for signs of oral cancer. They’ll also look for abnormalities in your lymph nodes, tongue, and open sores that are not healing normally. If we suspect that oral cancer is present, we’ll perform a biopsy for further analysis. Even if no cancer is present, we’ll go over steps that can help you reduce your risk for the condition.

The last thing you want is for your oral cancer to be discovered in the late stages. With routine dental visits, your outcome can be different. As part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we hope you stop by our office in the near future to confirm that your oral and systemic health is in good condition. If it’s been a long time since your last visit, we hope you schedule an appointment with our office soon!

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