Smoking and Oral Cancer Screening

Apr 25th, 2012 | By | Category: More dental news, Preventive Dentistry

Smoking and Oral CancerEvery year, around 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, and roughly 8,000 of them die. Oral cancers kill more people every year than other cancers that are more commonly talked about, such as cervical, testicular, or skin cancer. A strong proponent of preventive care and early detection, Dr. Moiceanu encourages his patients not to smoke or use tobacco products, and he routinely screens patients for oral cancer at every checkup.

Why is regular oral cancer screening important?

The reason oral cancer is so deadly is because it is often not detected until it metastasizes, or spreads to other parts of the body. Oral cancer is fairly easy to detect, but if you fail to receive regular screenings, you may miss it in the earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. Some of the symptoms are painless and easy for you to overlook, so you need to see Dr. Moiceanu regularly so that he can spot any abnormalities early on and refer you to a physician for treatment.

How does smoking contribute to oral cancer?

Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain at least 250 harmful chemicals, including carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ammonia. These chemicals cause damage to the cells of the lips, mouth, and throat, changing your DNA and encouraging tumor growth. Heavy alcohol use is another contributing factor, so if you both smoke and drink, your risk of oral cancer is even higher.

How can I quit smoking?

Many people have to quit smoking several times before it “takes.” If you have difficulty quitting cold turkey, you may benefit from the use of over-the-counter smoking cessation products such as nicotine gums, patches, or inhalers. If these products do not help, you may want to see your physician, who can prescribe medications that reduce your nicotine cravings.

If you need a dental checkup and oral cancer screening, call Dr. Stefan Moiceanu today at (510) 758-7222 to schedule an appointment. Hilltop Family Dental treats patients from Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the greater Contra Costa County area.

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