Oral cancer may not be as widely known as other types of cancer but is still just as deadly. In fact, estimates state oral cancer is responsible for killing one person each hour in the US. While it accounts for a relatively small percentage of cancer, its dangers lie in the lack of early detection. It’s not until the cancer advances that people take notice. At that point, the odds find only 6 in 10 people will survive after five years of treatment.(281) 852-2288
If there was a simple, early warning test, would you take it? The good news is — there is! Since early detection increases the rate of survival to greater than 80%, this test can truly save lives. Best of all, having an oral cancer screening is a part of your regular dental checkups.
An oral cancer examination is fast and painless. It identifies small changes in the lining tissues of the mouth, lips, and tongue. These changes signify the early stages of oral cancer. The screening is primarily visual and tactile (touch) examination. If we find abnormalities, we extract small tissue samples for further testing.
The answer might surprise you. Oral cancer was once thought to be found more often in older people. While it still mostly affects those over 40, younger people make up the fastest-growing segment of those diagnosed. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16), are the main culprits.
Other major risk factors still apply. Moderate to heavy drinkers and long-time tobacco users have a greater chance of developing the disease. Chronic exposure to the sun, long known to cause skin cancer, is also associated with cancers of the lips. Genetic factors are thought to have a major impact on who gets the disease as well.
A thorough screening for oral cancer is part of your routine dental checkup — another reason why you should be examined regularly. The screening includes a visual assessment of your lips, tongue, and the inside of your mouth, including a check for red or white patches or unusual sores. You may be palpated (pressed with fingers) to detect the presence of lumps and swellings, and your tongue may be gently pulled aside for an even better view. A special light, dye, or other procedure may also be used to help check any suspect areas. If anything appears to be out of the ordinary, a biopsy can be easily performed.
If you notice abnormal sores or color changes in the tissue of your mouth, lips, and tongue, call us. Because these may be symptoms of oral cancer. Most, however, are completely benign. Sores or unusual changes sill remaining after 2-3 weeks needs examination. Remember, the only way to accurately diagnose oral cancer is with a laboratory report. Early diagnosis with screenings at regular dental checkups is the best defense against oral cancer.
Enjoy your favorite show on the flat-screen TV in your treatment room.
Your little ones can relax with games, toys, and activities!
Have a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a glass of water.
Cozy up with a warm blanket or comfortable pillow on request.