Oral Cancer Screening
After you have had your teeth cleaned by our dentist, it is important to ask about an oral cancer screening. We all know that we should go to the dentist twice a year and brush our teeth, but many of us forget that regular checkups can help detect any signs of oral cancer, which has an almost 100% survival rate if detected early. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, Oral cancer affects more than 50,000 people in the U.S and kills 8,000 people. This should tell you that an oral cancer screening at least every year is essential. Here at our dental clinic Gresham Dental Excellence, Dr. Cooke can perform oral cancer screening tests and provide the best treatments if they diagnose early signs of oral cancer.
Why Is Oral Cancer Dangerous?
With many cancers, early detection improves your odds of a full recovery. Unfortunately, oral cancer often has no symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage and spread into nearby tissue. Since oral cancer can start in either a major or minor salivary gland, any lump or swelling in your mouth that persists for more than two weeks should be checked by a doctor. Some of the risk factors of oral cancer include tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and heavy sun exposure. If you have been exposed to these factors for a long time, you should get an oral cancer screening to detect the cancerous tissues before it is too late.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you notice any suspicious lumps or bumps, come to the dentist to get them checked out. Most oral cancers start as small swellings, so any changes in your mouth or throat should be reported immediately. If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable. However, if left unchecked, it can spread to other parts of your body and become life-threatening. It is best to know what signs and symptoms to look out for to catch it early enough so that treatment will be effective. Other common signs to look out for are trouble chewing and swallowing, redness around the mouth, pain in the face, bad breath, and white plaques. However, you should know some signs can be due to other oral issues, and this is why you should get the cancer screening to confirm.
How Do Dentists Diagnose Oral Cancer?
There are several ways to screen for oral cancer, including visual examinations and specialized testing. For example, the dentist might look at your mouth in a mirror to check for any suspicious lumps or other signs that something is wrong with your tissues. A specialized oral cancer screening test may include taking a biopsy, which is the removal of cells from inside your mouth and having it tested in the laboratory. Dr. Cooke uses the non-invasive FDA approved VELscope which emits a aspecial blue light that sees abnormalities that white light cannot see. Remember that it is vital to see your doctor regularly. Getting into a habit of seeing him or her once every six months can help ensure early detection if you have cancer. The earlier you catch it, the better chance you have at beating it.
If you are ready for an oral cancer screening test, do not hesitate to visit our dental office Gresham Dental Excellence. Schedule an appointment with us at (971) 431-7292.