Oral cancer is not a topic that most patients like to think about, but catching oral cancer in its early stages makes a huge difference when it comes to treatment. Oral cancer screenings are one of the many reasons why we suggest patients visit our office at least twice per year for a routine dental exam. To learn more about oral cancer screenings or schedule your next appointment with our team, please contact us!
What are the signs of oral cancer?
There are a few signs that can indicate that oral cancer is present. If you have one or more of the following symptoms and you are concerned, please contact our office.
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Unusual lump in or around mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or white patches in mouth
- Painful or difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes
What does an oral cancer screening consist of?
During routine dental visits, our team examines the patient’s teeth, gums, and the inside of their mouth for signs of tooth decay, dental trauma, gum disease, and a variety of other potential issues. It’s during this time that your dentist will also be looking for signs of oral cancer, which is why it is important to visit our office at least biannually. If you have a history of oral cancer in your family or you are at a higher risk of developing it, please let our team know so we can be sure to conduct extra thorough oral cancer screenings for you.
Who is at risk of developing oral cancer?
While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are a few factors that make it more likely that a patient will receive an oral cancer diagnosis at some point in their life. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and patients over 50 are more likely to develop oral cancer than younger patients. Regular tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and too much sun exposure can increase a patient’s risk of an oral cancer diagnosis. While there’s no way to prevent it, diagnosing and treating it as soon as possible usually has a very high success rate for most patients.