Oral Cancer Screening
Ten thousand lives will be cut unexpectedly short this year due to oral cancer. Every single year, over 50,000 people will get a diagnosis of oral cancer, and over half of them will have perished before five years have passed. The sad thing about oral cancer is not that it is particularly lethal or more deadly than other types of cancer, but that by the time it is detected, cancer has spread and is harder to treat. We here at Cane Bay Family Dentistry strongly advise that all of our patients see us every six months for a routine checkup that includes an oral cancer screening.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be very hard to detect at home. Because of this, this disease often progresses to a more advanced stage before the patient realizes they have it. Oral cancer can also appear in any part of your mouth, which means that checking yourself at home may miss the region where the cancer is growing.
Signs of oral cancer can include a red or white patch or lesion in your mouth that does not seem to want to heal, a bleeding ulcer or sore, or a mass in your mouth or throat. Pain or problems when swallowing can also be a sign of oral cancer. A sore throat, or hoarseness, may also be a clue that oral cancer is present. Finally, unexplained loose teeth may mean that an individual has oral cancer.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
In the past, one of the greatest determining factors of oral cancer was the use of tobacco and alcohol products. Sun exposure, age, and gender (typically men) were at greater risk for developing oral cancer. While these considerations still greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer, more and more young people are getting diagnosed with oral cancer annually. This is due to the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has been linked to oral cancer.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
During an oral cancer screening, we will thoroughly assess your mouth, jaw, and throat. We will start by taking your medical history. If you have any areas of concern, please let us know so we can assess them.
Your screening will start with a visual exam, where we will look for any visual signs of oral cancer. We will also perform a physical exam on your mouth and throat, where we will palpate (press gently) to check for any tenderness or masses. During your screening, we will check all surfaces of your mouth, including your tonsils, soft palate, cheeks, gums, tongue, underneath your tongue, and your lips.
If we find anything suspicious during your oral cancer screening, we will take a sample of the suspicious cells to send to our lab for a biopsy. If we do determine that you do have oral cancer, we can discuss your treatment options with you. These may include chemotherapy, surgery to remove any masses, immunotherapy, and radiation.
Many types of oral cancer can be treated if caught early. With early detection, the prognosis is greatly improved. To learn more about oral cancer, or to set up an appointment with us here at Cane Bay Family Dentistry for an oral cancer screening, please give us a call today at (843) 352-4454.
"The atmosphere, attention, care, and professionalism of the staff is like no other experience. They've taken care of my 4 year old granddaughter who actually loves going to the dentist mainly because of the kid-friendly atmosphere and attention she receives at Cane Bay Dentistry. One word to express Cane Bay Dentistry: Phenomenal!!!!"
"First time visiting and the experience was phenomenal!!! Super friendly staff made me feel very comfortable with the entire process even broke down costs and prices BEFORE performing tasks which rarely happens at dental visits for me. Overall highly recommend this office!"
"I had a great experience at CB Family Dentistry. Had to bring my child twice in less than a week for follow up and their outstanding service is consistent. The staff is friendly and helpful, the office is clean, almost no wait before being called in and the appointment availability and choices are great. The DMD was fantastic to my child which made procedures go very smooth."/div>