Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer includes cancers of the tongue, throat, and mouth.
Malignant tumors can develop on the tongue, on the tissue that lines the gums and mouth, below the tongue, at the base of the tongue, and in the region of the neck towards the rear of the mouth.
Having an oral cancer screening is extremely important. At Wilson Dentistry in Katy, TX, our doctors include this screening with regular dental exams.
Who Needs Oral Cancer Screening?
It is important that all patients be screened for oral cancer for early detection of potential cancerous cells, however, it is even more imperative when the patient smokes cigarettes, cigars, or even e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco which places them in a high-risk group.
Anyone who abuses alcohol or has an extended, long-term, exposure to the sun on their lips has a higher risk of oral cancer.
Any patients who notice strange sores either on their gums or somewhere in their mouth when flossing or brushing should schedule an appointment with our office to have a screening done by our staff.
Reasons for Oral Cancer Screening
If found early, our staff can put together a health plan to provide a more positive outcome for all patients. If the cancer is not properly treated, the tumor may spread to any tissue in the mouth.
If it spreads to the lymph nodes, treatment becomes infinitely more difficult because the cancer can spread through the patient's body.
While our staff cannot directly diagnose oral cancer, the screening process performed will identify any abnormal cells.
Many times, patients do not realize they have oral cancer because it rarely causes any symptoms. There may be a discoloration of the gums or abscesses in the mouth with a colored depression in the center but no associated pain.
When our staff identifies these cells, we let the patient know a biopsy needs to be done on the affected tissue. The biopsy will determine whether the cells are cancerous or not.
Screening only takes minutes and provides patients with the reassurance they are cancer free.
Oral Cancer Screening Frequency
The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening for those over the age of the twenty-six be done every thirty-six months. Over forty years of age, they recommend it every year.
Regardless of the age of our patients, we screen for oral cancer at every appointment.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
A visual inspection plus a physical examination of the gums, palate, tongue, and soft tissues make up an oral cancer screening. Other significant components of oral cancer screenings include examining the face, neck, lips, and nose.
The dentist will first check for asymmetries. We'll also look for any blisters, rough patches, pimples, swelling, lumps, white areas, and other anomalies.
The dentist will inspect the back of the throat as well. The dentist will touch the patient's oral cavity, cheeks, chin, jaw, and head during the physical examination. They'll be looking for anything unusual.
There may be unusual lumps or nodules that require additional study.
A sample of the cells in question may be removed and submitted to the lab for a biopsy if the dentist discovers an anomaly during an oral cancer screening.
What Does Oral Cancer Look Like?
Oral cancer signs and symptoms might differ from person to person. However, you should see your dentist for a checkup if any of the following symptoms last for more than a few days:
|Oral sores that don't heal as quickly as normal
| loose teeth
| white or red patches on the tongue, tonsils, or gums
| lumps on the neck, cheek, gums, and lips
| unexplained weight loss
| sore throat
|numbness or discomfort on the tongue or in the mouth
How Common Is Oral Cancer?
About 50,000 new cases (3% of all malignancies) diagnosed each year in the U.S. are oral cancer.
More than twice as many men as women are affected by oral cancer, which most frequently affects adults over the age of 40.
The majority of oral malignancies are linked to cigarette use, alcohol use, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Other Preventive Services We Offer
Our clinic offers preventive dental procedures to lower the risk of developing oral health issues, which can be more expensive to treat and painful to experience. These preventative practices include:
| expert cleanings
Your Dentist in Katy, TX Offers an Oral Cancer Screening!
Life-saving early detection is essential. You may be more likely to have oral cancer if you smoke or drink too much alcohol, have a history of the disease in your family, or engage in other risky behaviors. If so, you should ask for testing for oral cancer every four months.
Call (346) 340-5440 to make an appointment at Wilson Dentistry. Early detection of oral cancer can save your life. Don't wait and call us today!