April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

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Welcome to Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Cumulative sun damage from the harsh Australian climate is a well-known risk factor for developing skin cancer.  The importance of visiting a Doctor or Dermatologist for routine skin checks is something that is familiar for most Australians.

Did you know that when you visit Medland Dental for your Active Maintenance appointment, we complete a cancer screening to aid the early detection of cancer of the head, neck and mouth?  It’s a little like a skin check but inside of your mouth.

Your Dentist, Dental Hygienist or Oral Health Therapist is in a unique position. Most people have longer-term relationships with their dental practitioner and visit them more often than their Doctor or Dermatologist.  These more frequent contacts present greater opportunity to detect changes of concern or observe changes in your appearance over time.

Cancer of the head, neck or mouth has traditionally been associated with older age, a history of smoking or the use of tobacco products and alcohol consumption.  Current research demonstrates that this is changing.  Exposure to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the rise of vaping has seen cancer affecting the mouth and neck increase in a much younger age group.

During the screening process, we will observe the skin of your head and neck including your lips, eyes and ears.  The inside of your mouth and back of your throat are also examined.  We look for changes including red or white patches, growths, or sores that may be taking a long time to heal.  Your neck and jaw are also checked for unusual lumps or bumps.

Oral cancer screening is painless, quick, and can be lifesaving.  If an area of concern is identified during the screening process, you will be referred to see your Doctor, Dermatologist, or an Oral Pathologist for further investigation.

We encourage you to self-monitor for any of the following changes at home:

  • Any swelling or sore that doesn’t heal
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Changes in swallowing or speech
  • A persistent sore throat
  • A lump, bump or mass in the head or neck area (with or without pain)
  • A change in the way your teeth feel or fit together.

If you notice any of these, please contact your Doctor or Dental Practitioner as soon as possible.  They will be able to reassure you that all is well or refer you for further investigation if required.

At Medland Dental, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest level of service and exceptional clinical care. Your health and wellbeing are our top priorities, and we take our responsibility to provide you with the best possible care very seriously.

Can you recall the last time you were screened for oral cancer? Or do you have an area of concern you would like checked? Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment. Let’s work together to keep you healthy and smiling!