What is Oral Cancer Screening ?
You may have known someone who has battled with cancer, some people have won or lost the battle but we all know that finding this disease at an early stage increases our possibility to win. Oral cancer is not the most common type of cancer we hear about; but is one that can be detected with a dental cancer screening from your dentist in Coral Springs. You may also need a follow up visit with a specialist for an examination and biopsy confirmation.
There are two types of cancers that can occur in and around the mouth. Hard and soft tissue cancers. Your dentist will examine both your hard and soft tissues at every visit to make sure that they do not see any possible lesions forming.
What does it look and feel like?
There are very few signs and symptoms of it, however there are some that may help catch an early lesion. Some signs of oral cancer may be a small red or white (or red AND white) spot along any of the soft tissue in the mouth. This would be considered a soft tissue oral cancer. The most common area for a soft tissue lesion is on the tongue or under the tongue and along the floor of the mouth. This does not mean that cancers can occur in other areas of the mouth. Most oral cancers are painless and may grow slowly or quickly. Advanced bone cancers may show up on X-rays as dark spots (radiolucent) on the xrays that may or may not be destroying nearby anatomy. Sometimes cancers can appear as a swelling or a mass, however these are usually very advanced cancers. Unfortunately even advanced oral cancers can not be diagnosed until the very late stages. If a cancer enters a late stage, it may metastasize or spread to another area such as the lungs.
What is involved in an oral cancer screening ?
A comprehensive screening will involve the Coral Springs dentist visually examining your hard and soft tissue in and around the mouth. The dentist will look under the tongue and at the back of your throat. The dentist will also palpate (touch) the surfaces of your mouth inside and out to make sure that there are no swellings in and around your jaws.
Who is at risk of developing it?
It is usually squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity which uncontrollably destroys body tissue. Some factors that can increase the risk of developing this disease are people with history of tobacco use, heavily drinking alcohol, studies indicate patients that have been diagnosed with HIV, or patients with previous cancer history of neck and head. Some of the mouth cancer symptoms you can see or experience can be red or white patches, a lump, or sores that do not heal. The general intraoral examination includes checking your buccal mucosa, tongue, tonsils, cheeks, lips, hard and soft palate. Often we don’t think the importance of coming to the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings is because of an oral cancer screening; however it is part of the overall exam. This is where the doctor can evaluate any symptoms we may not notice but the doctor can.
What should I do if I suspect it?
Oral cancer treatment is easier for patients at earlier stages as with any other type of cancer. It can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. If you suspect that you have cancer, you should visit your Coral Springs dentist right away. They will perform a thorough oral cancer screening.
Find out more about oral cancer symptoms, tongue cancer symptoms, mouth cancer treatment, what causes oral cancer, and how to treat them. Schedule an appointment with your professional dentist in Coral Springs!