Why should I have an oral cancer screening?
Even if you do not smoke, you should ask your dentist about oral cancer screenings. According to the American Dental Association, more than 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors. With oral cancer screenings, our dentists can help with early detection and greatly improve your chances of survival and successful treatment.
Oral Cancer is one of the most curable diseases that exists, when it’s caught early. When oral cancer screenings detect oral cancer at the earliest stage, treatment is quicker, simpler, less invasive, and more than 90% successful. That’s why a simple oral cancer screening exam has been developed using technology that has been proven successful in identifying other types of precancerous abnormalities. This oral cancer screening exam is particularly important for dental patients with increased risk factors for oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
- Tobacco use: either smoking or smokeless tobacco
- Family history of cancer, especially oral cancer
This painless, non-invasive oral cancer screening test gives us as your family dentist a better chance to find any oral abnormalities you may have at the earliest possible stage. Abnormal cells in the mouth can progress to a pre-cancerous state with little warning. Early detection of pre-cancerous tissue can minimize or eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer and possibly even save your life.
Symptoms of oral cancer
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
- A sore that does not heal
- A white or red patch of tissue
- Difficulty in swallowing
- A lump or mass in the mouth or neck
- Hoarseness that lasts a long period
- Pain or numbness in the oral/facial region
- A change in voice
- Tobacco users including “smokeless” tobacco
- Heavy or chronic alcohol consumption
- Viral infections, particularly HPV 16/18
- Long term exposure to the sun (lip cancer)
- A history of oral leukophplakia or erythroplakia