Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palate, floor of the mouth, sinuses, and the throat, and can be life-threatening if it is not diagnosed and treated early. Smoking, other tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, time in the sun, and some types of HPV can increase the risks for oral cancer, which tends to spread quickly. There is a 20-30 percent chance that it has spread to the lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of oral cancer include pain in the ear, mouth, or mouth and face, pain while swallowing, ulcers in the mouth or on the gums, bad breath, coughing, or enlarged lymph nodes. If at any time you notice changes in your mouth, call our office to arrange an appointment.
Oral Cancer Prevention
Routine dental checkups are important to maintaining your oral health. A basic oral cancer screening by our doctors will include a thorough look at all parts of your mouth. Typically, most dentists perform an oral cancer screen during routine dental visits. The goal is to of course detect oral cancer early to decrease risks of illness or death. When caught early enough, the treatments for oral cancer are most effective. Removal is easier when oral cancer is caught early, and the cure rate is higher.
While there are not any studies that have proved that oral cancer screening has saved lives, the benefit outweighs the risks, and we will make recommendations based on what we may find in an oral cancer screening. One of the greatest benefits of an oral cancer screening is that it is so easy to do while already in a dental chair, and it is completely non-invasive!
Talk to Your Dentist About Oral Cancer Screenings
Not all dentists perform oral cancer screenings. We do. We will check your oral health during your routine visits and exams. We are current in the required knowledge needed to make a necessary discovery and/or diagnosis, and referral if needed.
Talking about cancer can be difficult. We want to start this dialog with you. Let us help care for your oral health.