Oral Cancer Screening
According to the American Dental Association, over 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. The five-year survival rate of those people diagnosed is about 64 percent. But early screening and detection of oral cancer may increase survival rates by as much as 90 percent.
An oral cancer screening is an exam performed at CoolBreeze Dentistry to look for signs of any cancer or precancerous abnormalities in your mouth. The goal of oral cancer screenings is to detect cancer at its early stages, when removable of affected tissue is easier and the disease is more likely to be cured. We offer an oral cancer screening as part of every dental exam.
Oral Cancer Screening
When you visit us for your exam, we’ll discuss your oral history and examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. During the screening we’ll visually inspection of the mouth, and Dr. Kainth will palpate (examine by touch) your jaw and neck.
Routine visits to our Irving dental office increases the odds that any suspicious changes in your mouth will be caught early, when cancer can be more easily treated. Between visits it's also important to be aware of any signs of oral cancer and to make an appointment with us if they don’t disappear after two weeks.
If we do find any sign of abnormality, we will refer you to your physician or dermatologist, who will perform a biopsy of the tissue and make a diagnosis.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
If you have any of the risk factors associated with oral cancer, a screening of the oral cavity is a very good idea. When we refer to “the oral cavity,” we’re referring to your lips, gums, cheek lining, the front part of your tongue, the part of your mouth beneath the tongue, and the hard palate on the roof of your mouth.
You are at an increased risk for oral cancer if any of these apply to you:
- Significant exposure to the sun, which increases the risk of lip cancer
- Using any type of tobacco product. These include cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipes, etc.
- Previous diagnosis of oral cancer
- Heavy alcohol use
However, you can get oral cancer even if you have none of these risk factors. Oral cancer is most common in people age 50 and over, but recent research indicates that younger people are also developing oral cancers related to human papillomavirus.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
It’s also a good idea to perform self-examinations to look for early warning signs. Call us immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- White spots or irritation that last longer than two weeks
- Difficulty swallowing or moving your tongue and jaw
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- Swelling or growths in or around your mouth or neck
- Frequent bleeding from the mouth or throat
Your overall health and wellbeing are of great importance to us. Oral cancer is a serious threat, but it is also highly treatable when detected early. Please call our Irving dental office to arrange an appointment for your next exam and cleaning.