Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a common cancer in the US. More than 400,000 cases are diagnosed each year. The key to treating and beating this cancer is early detection with your dentist. That is why getting an oral cancer screening at least once each year is important. Early diagnosis means less invasive treatment and a better long-term prognosis. Cicero Family Dental Care is happy to offer this exam to our patients so we can help our patients diagnose and treat this disease in its early stages.
What To Expect During An Oral Cancer Exam
During an oral cancer exam, a dental professional is looking for red and white sores within the patient’s mouth. These sores can be the first indicator of oral cancer. Using their gloved hands the dentist checks your cheeks, gums, and under your tongue for sores or any other indicators. They are also checking for any lumps or textures that feel out of place. Your neck and lymph nodes are also checked for any lumps or abnormalities. If any indicators are found, our professionals will work with you to determine the next steps for treatment.
Who Is Most At Risk For Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can impact virtually anyone. However, the condition happens more often in smokers, heavy drinkers, users of chewing tobacco, and individuals infected with HPV. Research shows that anywhere from 75%-90% of oral cancers happen in smokers. Gender and age are two other risk factors for this condition. Men are more likely than women to develop this form of cancer. Individuals over 45 are also more likely to present with this cancer. Poor diet, select categories of drugs, and genetics can also increase a person’s chances to develop this kind of cancer.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Oral Cancer
To reduce your risk for this type of cancer, it is strongly suggested that he or she stop using tobacco products. This includes cigars and pipes. Other ways to reduce your risk include reducing or eliminating alcohol and practicing safe oral sex. Also, make sure you wear lip balm to prevent cancer from forming around your lips and the outside of your mouth. Prolonged sun exposure can increase incidents of cancers of the lip.
What Happens If Oral Cancer Is Detected During My Exam?
If a sore or abnormality is suspected to be cancer, the next likely step is a biopsy. Not every growth in the mouth is cancer. Once the biopsy confirms the presence of oral cancer, then a treatment plan can be created. If caught in its early stages, oral cancer is quite treatable and a person’s prognosis is very good. As with any cancer, success rates decrease as the disease advances. This type of cancer has the best survival rate if it hasn’t spread from the mouth into the lymph nodes and head.
Oral cancer is an extremely common cancer. It is also a very lethal cancer unless it is caught early. The professionals at Cicero Family Dental Care make oral cancer screenings a part of our exam process and know how to handle such cases. Call our office today at (680) 688-6026 to schedule your exam.