Routine Oral Cancer Screenings at a Dentist’s Office Can Save Your Life!
Have you had a screening for mouth cancer this year? It’s important to take action now, as approximately 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Sadly, nearly 11,000 will succumb to the disease. While oral cancer is a life-threatening condition, the good news is that it’s easily treatable when detected early. If mouth cancer is diagnosed early, you have an 85% survival rate compared to 40% when a diagnosis is made late.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Orlando, Florida, offers oral cancer screenings during regular dental check-ups. Dr. John E. Russo and his team offer mouth cancer screenings that can identify oral cancer early on before it can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs like the lungs.
Oral cancer symptoms
Commonly known as “oral or mouth” cancer, oral and oropharyngeal cancers are any cancer that develops in the mouth, lips, gums, tongue, throat, cheeks, and other structures around the oral cavity.
These are the common symptoms of oral cancer.
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Painful or difficulty chewing
- Red or white patches inside your mouth
- Ear or mouth pain
- An abnormal lump inside your mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
Certain factors can increase your chances of oral cancer. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, genetics, sun exposure, and HPV infection can make you susceptible to oral cancer. Unfortunately, mouth cancer can still affect patients outside the mentioned risk groups. Since everyone is at risk of oral cancer, you shouldn’t skip routine mouth cancer screenings for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
What to expect during oral cancer screening
An oral cancer screening is a painless procedure that takes just minutes. The procedure requires no preparation — you just need to show up! If you have removable dental work, your dentist will request you remove them for a better view of the oral cavity.
During oral screening, we visually inspect your mouth for asymmetries. We examine your mouth for lumps, swellings, sores, patches, and other abnormalities that indicate the presence of oral cancer. We also use a mirror to explore the area around the tongue. Next, with gloved hands, we palpitate your neck, throat, and cheeks to feel unusual nodules or masses that require further examination.
Finally, we use a VELscope to detect anything that might be left out during the visual and physical exam. A VELscope illuminates your mouth to expose changes and lesions undetectable to the naked eye. Depending on your results, we recommend follow-up visits for re-assessments or refer you to a specialist for a biopsy.
Even if your dentist discovers abnormal signs during screening, don’t panic — it doesn’t mean you have mouth cancer. Several conditions can affect the oral mucosa, and most aren’t related to oral cancer. Some resolve themselves, but others require the intervention of a doctor. The vital thing is to determine the diagnosis for proper treatment.
Oral cancer screening near me
If you or your loved one hasn’t been screened for oral cancer, don’t wait! Be your own hero today by dialing (407) 470-1224 to schedule an appointment with Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for oral cancer screening. Oral cancer exams save lives!