Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tissues in the mouth and throat. This can include the lips, tongue, gums, palate, and pharynx. Oral cancer screenings can detect early signs of the disease, which gives you a better chance of successful treatment. While oral cancer is relatively rare, it is important to get screened for it on a regular basis. Nowadays, many dentists simply perform oral cancer screenings as a part of semi-annual dental exams.
Did You Know?
It is estimated that there will be over 49,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed this year. Oral cancer is more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age. Smoking and heavy alcohol use are also major risk factors for developing oral cancer.
Do I need an oral cancer screening?
Everyone can benefit from an oral cancer screening, however they can be especially important if you are experiencing symptoms of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- a sore or lump in the mouth
- unexplained bleeding from the mouth
- difficulty swallowing
- numbness in the tongue or lips
However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to see your dentist or doctor for a diagnosis.
What can I expect during an oral cancer screening at Grand River Family Dentistry?
At Grand River Family Dentistry, we screen for oral cancer during regular dental exams because this can help to detect the disease in its early stages. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.
During an oral cancer screening, your Detroit dentist will examine your mouth for any visible signs of the disease, such as abnormalities in the color or texture of soft tissue. They may also use a special light to look for any abnormal tissue. This light causes abnormal tissues to glow.
What happens if something is found during the screening?
If anything suspicious is found during the screening, your dentist will recommend you see your doctor for further testing. This may include a biopsy, which is a simple procedure that involves taking a small sample of tissue for examination. It is important to note that your dentist cannot diagnose oral cancer from a screening alone and they can only tell you if they find something suspicious. At that point, you will need to consult with a medical doctor to determine if you have oral cancer.