Oral Cancer Screening in Houston TX
Mouth cancer or Oral cancer isn’t a very well-known disease but unfortunately it is becoming more prevalent, with more young women being diagnosed which may be due to the fact that more now smoke. While alcohol and tobacco use are proven risk factors for developing oral cancer some 25% of those diagnosed will be non-smokers and moderate drinkers or teetotalers. If detected early then survival rates are good, and scheduling regular checkups at our office is one of the best ways of helping limit your chances of developing this cancer.
Our dentists are trained to examine your oral cavity as a whole and not just your teeth. During the screening, your dentist will carefully feel the floor of your mouth and parts of the back of your throat to check for any abnormalities. They will also check your neck for any swollen lymph nodes or lumps, and will also assess your oral tissues visually as white or red patches or areas which are ulcerated or lumpy may indicate an abnormality. Loose teeth can also indicate a cancerous condition, or it can sometimes be detected on dental x-rays.
In the unlikely event that something is found you may be recommended to have a biopsy. This is a simple procedure which involves taking a small portion of the tissue to be examined under a microscope. There are two types of a biopsy that may be done which are:
1) incisional biopsy that will involve having all or part of the lump removed for analysis
2)fine needle biopsy which will involve having a small needle attached to a syringe inserted into the mass so that cells can be aspirated into the syringe for examination.
It’s very important that you let your dentist know if you are a smoker, or if you have smoked in the past. Mouth cancer is more common in smokers. As a patient you can do much to help the early detection of this disease by being aware of any changes to your oral cavity. These changes may include:
- Having a lesion in your mouth that doesn’t heal properly within a couple of weeks
- Feeling a lump or a thickening of the tissues in the cheek
- Noticing a change in the color of your oral tissues
- Having a sore throat or feeling as if something is stuck in the back of your throat
- Having difficulty chewing, swallowing, or feeling as if your teeth don’t meet together properly any more
- Feeling a numbness in the tongue or other areas in your mouth
If you do notice any of these changes then schedule a checkup for oral cancer screening at our office as soon as possible.