An oral cancer screening could save your life
Oral cancer statistics
* Approximately 48,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral
or pharyngeal (throat) cancer this year
* Only about 57% of those diagnosed will be alive in 5 years
* Oral cancer claims over 9,575 deaths yearly, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day
* Excluding brain cancer, oral cancers make up about 85% of head and neck cancers
Source: Oral Cancer Foundation
Oral cancer screening is an exam that is performed by either your dentist and/or dental hygienist during your teeth cleaning dental visit.
Oral cancer signs & symptoms
Oral cancer is difficult to detect because many of the signs and symptoms can be easily mistaken and/or caused by things other than cancer.
* A sore in the mouth that does not heal
* Pain in the mouth that does not subside
* A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth
* Difficulty chewing
* Difficulty swallowing
* Difficulty moving the tongue
* Tingling or numbness feeling of the tongue
* Voice changes
* A lump or mass in neck or throat
Source: American Cancer Society
For any signs and/or symptoms lasting longer than 2 weeks, we urge you to call for an appointment with a dentist or your medical doctor for further evaluation and diagnosis.
Oral cancer risk factors
Are you at risk?
If you have or have a history of any of the following below, you have an elevated risk for oral cancer.
* Smoking/Smokeless tobacco
* Drinking alcohol
* Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
* Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure
Dentistry for the Entire Family performs an oral cancer screening examination as part of your routine dental examination.
Smoking & oral cancer
Smoking contains a plethora of carcinogenic ingredients, many of which research has linked to cancer. Tobacco smoke can cause cancer anywhere in the body including the mouth and throat. Additionally, smoking increases your risk for gum disease and greatly increases your risk for tooth loss.
Smokeless tobacco contains carcinogenic ingredients that gravely impact the linings of the lips, potential to erode supporting gum tissue that holds the teeth tightly in the jaw as well as the tongue’s appearance and/or function.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk for oral cancer.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
HPV is a group of viruses that oftentimes result in a growth called a papilloma. Papillomas are not cancers, and are more commonly called warts. Research has linked HPV16 to throat cancer.
Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure
Sunlight is the main source of UV light. People who work outside are especially vulnerable and as well as people who use or have previously used UV tanning salons. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends use of sunscreen for exposed skin, including the use of lip balm with sunscreen for maximum protection.
People with immunocompromised systems have an increased risk for developing cancer, oral cancer included.
Oral cancer screening exam
Each preventive visit includes an oral cancer screening. Your dental hygienist will review your medical history and record any observations for the dentist to evaluate further during your dental examination by the dentist.
During your oral cancer screening the dentist will inspect and palpate the following:
* Floor of the mouth
* Hard and soft palate (roof of your mouth)
Additionally, your dentist will review any digital x-rays taken for any abnormal pathology.
Photo source: Weebly
Oral cancer diagnosis
If your dentist observes any findings that require further evaluation, he/she will refer you to an oral surgeon for examination and possible biopsy for a definitive diagnosis.
Only a biopsy report can definitively diagnose oral cancer. If a biopsy report indicates oral cancer, the oral surgeon will collaborate with an oral cancer surgeon for treatment.
Call (763) 586-9988 to schedule a teeth cleaning appointment today or click the button below to request an appointment.