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Posts for tag: oral cancer

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
April 28, 2019
Category: Oral Health
SteelyDanFoundersDeathHighlightsImportanceofEarlyCancerDetection

Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
August 28, 2017
Category: Oral Care
Tags: oral cancer  

Do you know the signs of oral cancer? Our Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Joseph Hendrick, Jr., can discuss with you some early signs that mayOral Cancer be easily overlooked.

Common oral cancer signs

These signs may indicate that you have oral cancer:

  • Sores That Don't Go Away: Sores in your mouth, whether they're caused by canker sores or small cuts, can be very painful and may take a week or two to heal completely. If your sore never fully heals, you may have oral cancer.
  • Pain: Persistent pain is often caused by tooth decay, but may be due to cancer, in some cases. Pain may occur anywhere in the teeth, mouth or jaw.
  • Lumps and Spots: Lumps, thick areas, or red or white patches in your mouth can be early signs of cancer.
  • Hoarseness: Hoarseness or other changes in your voice can occur in the early stages of oral cancer.
  • Loose Teeth: Teeth can loosen due to gum disease, a receding jawbone or cancer.
  • Trouble Eating: If you have difficulty swallowing or chewing, call our Shelby office as soon as possible. Cancer may also make tongue or jaw movements difficult or may cause numbness in your tongue and mouth.
  • Poorly Fitting Dentures: Changes in your mouth due to cancer can change the fit of your dentures.

Regular dental visits catch cancer in the early stages

Dentists don't just look for cavities during your check ups. Every visit also includes a cancer screening. If any potential signs of cancer are detected, you'll need a biopsy to rule out the disease.

Visiting the dentist every six months is an excellent way to safeguard your oral and general health. Call our Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Hendrick, at (704) 484-0077 to schedule an appointment.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
November 17, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Find out why you shouldn’t put off an oral cancer screening with your Shelby dentist.

While we wish that oral cancer just didn't exist, unfortunately it does and it affects millions of people each year. oral cancerLuckily, oral cancer can be treated if caught early enough by your Shelby, NC dentist Dr. Joseph Hendrick, Jr. In fact, the CDC believes that dental professionals could potentially detect about 84 percent of oral cancer cases if patients came in for regular screenings.

So, when should you come in for your oral cancer screening?

If you maintain six-month visits with your general dentist in Shelby, then you are already doing what you need to for your oral health. It’s usually during these visits that we examine your gums and other soft tissue to make sure that there aren’t any suspicious growths or lesions. If you are at an increased risk for oral cancer you may want to talk to us about whether or not you should come in more frequently for screenings.

What puts people at risk for oral cancer?

Here are some of the major risk factors to help you determine if you could be at risk:

  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Age (those over the age of 40 are at a higher risk)
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Your gender (Men are more at risk then women)
  • A poor diet
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

Even though many people diagnosed with oral cancer have had at least one risk factor, there is an increasing rate of those who don’t. This is why it’s still important to see your Shelby, NC dentist even if you don’t have any of these issues that predispose you to oral cancer.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

When you come in to our office we will look for these symptoms:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Bleeding or chronic spots or lesions
  • A hard lump in your mouth
  • Numbness or pain when biting down

These oral cancer screenings could just save your life. If you need to schedule your next visit with us let us know that you are interested in being screened as well. Call Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr, DDS, PA today.



Dentist in Shelby, NC
Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
511 N. Morgan Street
Shelby, NC 28150
(704) 484-0077
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