Each year, thousands of new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed. This concerning type of cancer often remains hidden to the naked eye. For this reason, many people who have oral cancer do not know it. The condition, in early stages, causes no discomfort, nor does it tend to show up in the form of a sore or lesion in the mouth. The subtle nature of oral cancer, and its potentially devastating effects, makes oral cancer screening an important part of a routine dental checkup.
The oral cancer screening
Oral cancer screenings are performed during yearly dental exams. If, between visits, a persistent sore lingers in the mouth, an examination should be scheduled. Most oral lesions will heal within a week or two. After this time, we want to evaluate the sore for abnormal cells. Statistics show that early detection of oral cancer creates a 90 percent likelihood of long term survival.
The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control is that patients aged 17 and up receive oral cancer screenings each year. One of the associated factors used to create this recommendation is the prevalence of HPV amongst young people. This virus causes an increased risk for oral cancer. Additional risk factors include the use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption.
Early detection and treatment are crucial to the outcome of care. When oral cancer is removed during an early stage, many patients fully recover from the condition. Patients of Sun Smile Dental are encouraged to receive their oral cancer screening each year. Patients in whom oral cancer has been treated will continue to receive adequate follow up to ensure any reappearance is caught early.
On a yearly basis, patients receive a full oral examination that includes x-rays. This helps us to quickly notice any abnormalities in tissue. A standard oral cancer screening involves observation and manual palpation of areas around the neck. Additionally, we observe oral tissues through our ViziLite diagnostic imaging device. This painless examination will alert us to anomalies in tissue by reflecting those cells as areas of white on our screen. If necessary, a biopsy will be taken to further assess the tissue.
We're doing our part to decrease the statistics on oral cancer. For your visit to our San Marcos office, call
(760) 993-3185 .