Oral Cancer Screenings Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. It can be life threatening. Oral cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 100 new individuals every day in the U.S., and one person dies from oral cancer approximately every hour of every day. Downtown Dental Associates wants to help you prevent oral cancer by giving you an oral cancer screening at every dental check-up.
Common Oral Cancer Symptoms
The use of tobacco, alcohol, and especially tobacco and alcohol simultaneously greatly increases your risk for oral cancer. If you notice any of these oral cancer symptoms listed below contact us immediately:
- Swelling lumps or bumps
- Rough spots on lips, gum or other mouth areas
- White, red or speckled patches in the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Strange numbness or tenderness in face mouth or neck area
- Persistent sores on face, neck or mouth that don’t stop bleeding and don’t heal within two weeks
- Pain in the back of the throat
- Ear pain
- Significant weight loss
Oral Cancer Screenings with Your Hygienist
At each dental check-up your hygienist will check for oral cancer. She will check your mouth and throat for red or white patches, lumps or swelling by looking at the mouth’s roof, back of the throat, and the inside of the lip and cheek. If there is an abnormal area, a biopsy is taken, which means a sample of tissue is removed to look for cancer cells.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
If cancer is detected, there are many forms of treatment for oral cancer: surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Most patients do a combination of treatments.
Surgery will remove the mouth tumor. It is a common treatment for oral cancer. This may also be combined with radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is used for small tumors or patients who can’t have surgery. It kills cancer cells and shrinks the tumor. External radiation may be used which comes from a machine. Implant radiation is another option and comes from radioactive material in seeds, needles or thin plastic tubes.
Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells through systemic therapy. It enters the bloodstream and affects cancer cells in the whole body. It is given by injection and usually doesn’t need a hospital stay.
Oral Cancer Prevention
It is easy to prevent oral cancer:
- The number one way is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
- Regular dental check-ups to detect cancer early.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Limit sun exposure when in the sun wear UV blocking sun protective lotion on skin and lips.