Oral Cancer Screening
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Every year, 10,000 people will tragically lose their life to oral cancer. Oral cancer can go undetected for a long time without regular dental appointments because it can quickly grow in hard-to-see places such as underneath your tongue, the back of your throat, the inside of your cheek, and on your soft palate. Catching oral cancer early is vital to your long-term health and prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of just 60 percent; the sooner we’re able to identify it, the quicker we can start life-saving treatment for you.
People who smoke and drink are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, and genetics also play a huge role in determining who develops this highly deadly type of cancer. Early signs of oral cancer include a sore in your mouth that does not seem to want to heal, unexplained red or white patches in your mouth, new problems with being able to close your mouth completely, lumps or scaly patches in your mouth, and difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms can be an ongoing sore throat, or sudden pain or numbness and tingling in your mouth. If you discover any of these signs and find that they persist for longer than two weeks, you must call us right away for an oral cancer screening.
During an oral cancer screening, we’ll thoroughly examine your mouth. It’s important to disclose to us any symptoms that you may be noticing so we can investigate them further. We will inspect your entire mouth, including your throat, your gums, your tonsils, your soft palate, your lips, and your tongue. We’ll also check your neck, too, for any lumps or swellings. If we find something suspicious, we may take a tissue sample of the area and send it out for a biopsy. We will also advise that you follow up with us within a week or two so we can monitor the suspicious area for any changes.
An oral cancer screening is not something to be afraid of; the reality is that it’s quite beneficial to you to ensure your mouth is in good health. The sooner we can determine if you have any cancerous cells in your mouth, the sooner we can start treatment for you. If caught early, your outcome is significantly improved.
If you have a family history of cancer, or you are part of a demographic that is at increased risk, it’s important that you schedule more frequent appointments with us to make sure you remain healthy. We typically recommend appointments every six months, but you may require more regular appointments for your health. To learn more about oral cancer and how screening can benefit you, or to schedule an appointment at our office, please give us a call here at ZenTech Dentistry at (503) 765-9699 today.