Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a devastating illness. Every year, it affects the lives of over 40,000 people across the United States. Of those 40,000, only about half live past 5 years of being diagnosed. Early detection is key. During your visits at Mark A. Coussens, DMD Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we conduct thorough oral exams. We check the condition of your teeth and your gums, looking for signs of tooth damage and gum disease. However, we also do something else – we conduct an oral cancer screening.
Oral cancer covers any cancer that affects the mouth. This includes your lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, palate, the floor of the mouth and even the back of the mouth, near the entrance to the throat. It can significantly impact even the most basic, yet important functions of your mouth, including eating and speech. If not detected, and treated, early, the chances of survival past five years are small.
Are You at Risk?
There are a few different factors that put you at risk for developing oral cancer:
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
During your regular dental visits, we perform a thorough oral cancer screening, checking your mouth for symptoms of oral cancer. However, the disease can strike anytime, so it is important to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for. Moreover, if you notice them, you should call right away:
Diagnosing and Treating Oral Cancer
A thorough oral exam is only part of diagnosing oral cancer. We may also take X-rays and perform a biopsy on any area of your mouth that looks odd. A biopsy involves taking a sample of the tissue in your mouth to examine it under a microscope. There are a few ways in which this can be done:
A biopsy is our best tool in diagnosing or ruling out oral cancer. With an accurate diagnosis, we can then take action. Treatment could involve simply removing the lesion, or further treatment may be required.
Regular visits for exams can help to detect signs of oral cancer early before it’s too late. However, if you notice any symptoms in between your scheduled visits, do not delay. Call Mark A. Coussens, DMD Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (503) 567-4121 right away.