Oral Cancer Screenings

The Signs of Oral Cancer

Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.

We perform a thorough oral cancer exam during your checkups because early detection can save your life.

Oral cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the mouth and throat. Some of the warning signs are—

  • a red, white, or discolored patch or lump in or around your mouth.
  • a sore that bleeds easily or that doesn’t heal within 2 weeks.
  • an area that has thickened, raised, or become hardened.
  • a rough patch of tissue.
  • difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • a chronic sore throat or hoarseness.

The exam for oral cancer

Because early detection is vital to surviving oral cancer, we will perform a thorough oral cancer screening each time we see you in our office for an exam. In addition, if you notice any of the warning signs, tell us right away. Do not ignore one or more of the signs just because it does not hurt. Most pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions are completely painless.

As part of our oral cancer exam, we can offer comfortable, non-invasive technologies for detecting cancer in its earliest stages. There can be two steps in oral cancer detection: screening and biopsy.

Screening for oral cancer

oral cancer screeningFirst we use a cancer screening technology to help us find and identify suspicious tissues, especially the ones that cannot be seen easily with the naked eye.

The technology combines a specifically formulated mouthrinse with a special light.

We use a concentrated light that identifies abnormal areas. Under the light, abnormal or suspicious tissues appear white in contrast with the surrounding healthy tissue. If we find any suspicious sores or lesions, we may then use an in-office biopsy system to determine if the area is pre-cancerous oral cancer screeningor cancerous.

Performing a biopsy for oral cancer

We press a small brush firmly against the area and rotate it gently to collect a sample of cells.

The sample is spread onto a glass slide and sent to the laboratory for examination. At the lab, a computer analyzes the cell sample. A pathologist then evaluates the sample and provides a diagnosis.

If cancerous or potentially cancerous cells are found, we talk with you about any additional testing that may be needed.

Early detection is vital to successful treatment for oral cancer. That is why we offer these technologies for keeping you and your mouth healthy.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is one of the cancers that occurs in the head and neck area. Oral cancer starts in the mouth or oral cavity. Oral cancer is common. If a doctor finds and treats it early, it is very curable. A doctor or dentist can usually spot oral cancer with a routine mouth exam. Of all people who get oral cancer, the majority smoke or use tobacco. Drinking alcohol is also a risk factor for oral cancer.

What are the different types of oral cancer tumors?

More than 90% of all oral cavity tumors are squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cells make up the lining of the oral cavity. This lining is also called the mucosa. Less common types of oral cancer are these tumors of the salivary glands:

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma

How does smoking affect oral cancer?

Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor in getting oral cancer. People who smoke or chew tobacco, dip snuff, or smoke pipes have a much higher chance of getting oral cancer than people who do not use tobacco. The more tobacco is used and the longer it’s used, the higher the risk.

Is oral cancer preventable?

Yes. Some risks are within a person’s control, such as using tobacco and drinking a lot of alcohol.

People who don’t smoke or use tobacco have a lower risk of oral cancer. Their risk of developing cancer in other parts of the body is also lower. Smokers are also at risk for cancer in other organs, including:

  • Lungs
  • Larynx
  • Pharynx
  • Esophagus
  • Bladder
  • Kidney
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach

What are they symptoms of oral cancer?

These are the symptoms of oral cancer:

  • A sore on your lip or in the mouth that will not heal
  • A lump on your lip, in the mouth, or in the throat
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
  • Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth
  • A feeling of something caught in the throat
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Loose or painful teeth
  • A lump, swelling, or mass in the neck that doesn’t go away
  • Weight loss that is unexpected
  • A change in the voice
  • Ear pain

Whats is an Oral Cancer Exam?

Oral Cancer Detection

oral cancer screening pasadena
pediatric dentistry pasadena