Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Cancer Screening Woodland Hills, CA
Although oral cancer may not get as much attention as some more widely-known types of cancer, that doesn’t mean it’s any less deadly. In fact, it is estimated that in the United States, oral cancer is responsible for killing one person every hour, every day. While it accounts for a relatively small percentage of all cancers, oral cancer is dangerous because it isn’t usually detected until it has reached an advanced stage.
Since early detection has been shown to increase the survival rate of oral cancer to 80% or better, this test can truly save lives. An oral cancer examination is fast and painless. Its objective is to identify small changes in the lining tissues of the mouth, lips and tongue that may signify the early stages of this type of cancer. The screening is primarily a visual and tactile (touch) examination. If any abnormalities are noted, a small tissue sample can be retrieved for further testing in a laboratory.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
While oral cancer can usually be successfully treated when detected early, most cases of oral cancer are not detected until they have progressed into a more serious, advanced stage that is much more difficult to treat. The following are common symptoms of oral cancer:
- A persistent sore throat or feeling that something is caught at the back of the throat
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- A persistent or lasting sore on the face, neck, or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks
- Unexplained loss of feeling, pain, or numbness in the face, neck, or mouth
- Ear pain
- Lumps, bumps, or rough spots on the gums, lips, or other parts of the mouth
- Red, white, or speckled red and white patches in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
What Happens During An Oral Cancer Screening?
A thorough screening for oral cancer is part of your routine dental checkup. The screening includes a visual assessment of your lips, tongue, and the inside of your mouth, including a check for red or white patches or unusual sores. We’ll also check for any lumps or swelling, and your tongue may be gently pulled aside for an even better view. A special light or dye may be used to help check any suspect areas. If anything appears to be out of the ordinary, a biopsy can be easily performed.
Early diagnosis, aided by thorough screenings at your regular dental checkups, is one of the best defenses against oral cancer and our doctors are here to help.