Oral Cancer Screening – Longview, TX
Saving Lives One Screening at a Time
Did you know that one person dies every hour every day from oral cancer? Around 132 people are diagnosed with it every day in the United States. It’s not as rare as you might think, and it’s just as dangerous as many other types of cancer.
What is oral cancer?
Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer occurs in the mouth, tongue, cheeks, lips, or throat and usually manifests with at least one of the following symptoms:
- Discolored patches that are white, red, or speckled (both red and white).
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Swelling or thickening rough spots.
- Lumps or bumps on the lips, gums, or other areas in the mouth.
- Persistent sores that do not heal within 2 weeks.
- Unexplained numbness or tenderness anywhere in the face, mouth, or neck.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Chronic sore throat
Although tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the main causes of oral cancer, rising exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) has also led to more cases of oral cancer in otherwise healthy patients.
Why are oral cancer screenings so important?
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancers can have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate when found during early stages. However, most new diagnoses are discovered during later stages, contributing to a high mortality rate of about 43 percent. At Vaca & Kirby Dental, our experienced, trained professionals conduct an oral cancer screening at your dental checkup every six months to help ensure that we catch oral cancer as early as possible. By focusing on early detection, we can save lives!
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
One of our dental professionals will thoroughly examine your mouth, gums, tongue, cheeks, and mouth visually for any of the telltale symptoms listed above. In addition, we have access to advanced equipment, including digital X-rays with Belmont Panoramic, that can help us more accurately diagnose any potential problems, including oral cancer.
How often should I get screened?
By attending your regular, routine dental checkup with us, you will get an oral cancer screening every six months, regardless of your risk factors. But especially if you use tobacco or alcohol, it is important to get this screening at least twice a year so that we can identify potential signs of oral cancer early and start the necessary treatment as soon as possible.
What impact can oral cancer have on me?
Like many other cancers, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body if not detected early enough, which lowers your likelihood of surviving and overcoming it. Even if it stays where it forms, the cancer and the treatment can make it difficult to enunciate your words in speech. Also, chemotherapy, a common cancer treatment, can cause dry mouth, pain in your teeth and gums, and increased risk of oral infection. You can significantly reduce the odds of these ill effects with early detection.
At Vaca & Kirby Dental, we want to help you maintain your oral health, so you can keep smiling for years to come. Our dedicated team has the necessary experience to keep you on the right track. Make your appointment with us today! We look forward to seeing you soon!