In North America, cancer of the head and neck (H&N) comprises 3-5% of all cancer. Particularly in the H&N region, the three main cancer culprits are squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and sarcoma.
Dentists are the ones who often are the first medical professionals consulted when a patient shows signs and symptoms of swelling and pain, that may be a cause of cancer in the H&N region. In light of this, dentists should be well trained in recognizing H&N cancer.
Cancer screening with thorough examinations include reviewing for risk factors like lifestyle, age, race, gender, and sun exposure, or conducting a visual inspection for lumps and taking radiographic imaging for abnormal bone tissue. If cancer is suspected or diagnosed, a referral to proper specialists would be warranted.
Like all cancers, early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment and a good long-term prognosis.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is closely related to mouth and throat cancers, and has been steadily rising in the last few years. Dentists should be aware that the age of the patients who have HPV-related cancer tends to be of the younger demographic, and have no traditional risk factors like smoking, snuffing, vaping, or alcohol consumption.
Knowledge in how to manage patients with H&N cancer who are going to have radiation therapy (XRT) is also extremely important. Proper pre-XRT dental management and treatment will greatly improve the oral health status of your teeth, supporting gums and jaw bone. An ignorance of the proper management before a patient undergoes XRT can gravely affect the prognosis of remaining teeth and gums, leading to infection, loss of teeth, and even loss of teeth. Post XRT oral health maintenance is a crucial part to preventing rampant dental decay, and the reconstruction of dentition (the arrangement of your teeth) with prostheses like dentures or partials should also be considered.
As a health care professional, dentists need to provide quality wellness dental care to their patients, no matter their situation.
If you are looking for a Burlington Dentist that looks into head and neck cancer screening as well as family dental and cosmetic dental services contact us today by filling out the form below or calling 289-861-5111