Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings are a very simple part of your typical dental examination. There are several different types or oral cancer which can affect all parts of your mouth. Though this may not be directly related to your teeth, your dentist can easily screen you for symptoms and recommend follow-up testing and treatment. Some parts of the mouth that can be impacted by oral cancer include lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, mouth floor, and hard and soft palates. At Summit Dental Group, we can guide you through all steps of this process.
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings provide a simple preliminary way to determine any risks of oral cancer. These are very easy to do and, if caught early enough, oral cancer can be treated in a number of ways. For instance, depending on the severity of the condition, we can recommend surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. The earlier the cancer can be identified and treated, the greater chances of survival you have. For instance, five-year survival rates for stages one and two oral cancer are between 70% and 90%. We will also provide health and nutrition counseling so you can be sure to prevent it from progressing or returning.
Oral Cancer Risks
You may be an overall healthy individual, but anyone can be affected by cancer. There are several risk factors to keep in mind. Your behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, put you at risk for developing oral cancer. Other risk factors that are outside of your control include sun exposure, the presence of other diseases, weakened immune system, family history or previous diagnosis, and genetics. For instance, men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women.
There are a few parts to this process. One easy step that you can actually do yourself is being aware of the symptoms. These include chronic sores, bleeding, loose teeth, pain or difficulty in swallowing, growths, earaches, weight loss, numbness, and jaw and tongue pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to discuss them with your dentist.
As part of a routine exam, our professionals will conduct a preliminary oral cancer screening. This involves examining the mouth for any noticeable sores, lesions, or other symptoms. If you have symptoms and the source is not known, your dentist may refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. If your dentist does find something suspicious, they may choose to perform a biopsy of the tissue. This lets them examine it at the cellular level and identify cancer cells.
In addition, there are several follow-up diagnostic tests that we can provide to get more information. These include x-rays, CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans, and endoscopies. There are different reasons why each of these tests would be used. Following the initial screening, your dentist can discuss results with you and recommend a follow-up test based on your specific condition or concerns.
If you have any questions about oral cancer screenings or you are experiencing symptoms, set up an appointment with our office. To do this, you can contact Summit Dental Group today.