Every year, tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancer. The earlier these cases are detected, the greater the chances of survival — and the lower the chance that extensive treatment will be necessary. At Southeastern Dental Care, our team is deeply concerned about the overall health of our patients, which is why we include an oral cancer screening as part of every routine checkup. This simple and quick examination could save your life!
Some signs and symptoms of oral cancer that you should remain on the lookout for include:
Your dentist or oral hygienist will look for any of the above-listed signs of oral cancer. They will also ask you questions to determine if you have been experiencing any worrisome symptoms lately.
We always strive to be very thorough when we are screening for oral cancer, even with patients who do not believe they have any risk factors for the disease. For example, it is common knowledge that smoking can lead to oral cancer. However, not as many people are aware of the fact that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is also a significant risk factor; HPV does not always present obvious symptoms, so quite a few people are not aware that they have it. Also, bear in mind that even if you are completely free of any known risk factors, getting screened is still a wise precaution because in some cases, there is no discernable rhyme or reason for why cancer afflicts a certain person.
Your dentist or hygienist will use their eyes and their gloved hands to examine your throat, cheeks, tongue, jaw, and lips. The process is fast, noninvasive, and completely painless. If our team notices any cause for concern, we will help you to arrange for further testing. A biopsy is the best way to confirm whether any abnormal tissue is cancerous.
Experts recommend that all adults get screened for oral cancer at least once a year. If it is time for your next screening, contact us to schedule an appointment.