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General

Dentistry

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is a serious oral health problem that results from the uncontrollable growth of cells in the mouth. While the disease can be fatal, oral cancer is also highly detectable when patients seek regular oral cancer screenings at our office.

 

Our office offers ViziLite, VELscope, and other cancer detection tools that can successfully screen for all types of oral cancer. Early detection of oral cancer is critical to ensuring optimal oral health outcomes for our patients.

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Are you at risk for oral cancer?


Oral cancer can develop at any age, but men over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of developing this type of cancer. Patients should understand the risk factors associated with oral cancer. Common risk factors include:

  • Gender (men are more likely to develop oral cancer)
  • Environmental factors like exposure to carcinogens or high levels of ultraviolet light
  • Tobacco use
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Advanced age
The average age of oral cancer diagnosis is 62. If you are advanced in age or have risk factors for oral cancer, a simple screening at our office can determine if you have this disease.




Oral Cancer Symptoms


Oral cancer does not always cause symptoms, and growths under the gums or inside a tooth may not always be noticeable. These are reasons why regular oral cancer screenings are so important. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A growth or sore that does not heal
  • The onset of persistent pain in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A lump in your lips, tongue, or cheeks
  • The appearance of a white patch on your soft tissue
  • Perceptible change in voice quality
If you experience or notice any of these symptoms, call our office to set up an oral cancer screening appointment. Screenings for this disease are convenient and highly affordable.




Oral Cancer Screenings


Oral cancer screenings can be performed during a regularly scheduled checkup. One of our doctors will use advanced ViziLite, VELscope, or other cancer detection tools to look for the presence of cancerous cells. Cancer screening devices use special forms of light to identify abnormalities that could be cancerous. Cancer screenings also involve a physical examination of your mouth using a gloved hand. Your doctor will ask if you have risk factors for oral cancer. Cancer screenings are performed in well under half an hour. If one of our doctors sees potential signs of oral cancer, a biopsy will be performed. If the presence of cancer if found, one of our doctors will refer you to a specialist for treatment. When diagnosed early, oral cancer can be highly treatable. If you have questions about how frequently you should be screened for oral cancer, one of our doctors will consider your medical history and age before recommending how frequently you should undergo cancer screenings.




Tips for Reducing Your Risk for Oral Cancer


Understanding the risk factors for oral cancer can help patients avoid this disease. Eliminating tobacco product use is by far the most effective step anyone can take to reducing the risk of developing oral cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption is also closely linked with oral cancer. Eating a nutritious plant-based diet and avoiding excessive sun exposure can also reduce your risk of developing cancer. Even if you do not have risk factors for oral cancer, annual cancer screenings may still be advisable.





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