Oral Cancer Screening
Preventative dental care does not simply mean avoiding cavities and checking on the health of your gums. Preventative dental care also includes an exam of your entire oral cavity to ensure that it is free from abnormalities and is healthy. Our team at Rockton Dental conducts a thorough oral exam during your regularly scheduled dental visits, which includes an oral cancer screening.
During this screening, our professional is checking for lesions or other unusual developments that may be precancerous. If an unusual lesion is detected, our team will likely recommend additional testing to determine if the lesion is cancerous. This additional testing will most likely involve a biopsy and advanced imaging such as x-rays or scans. A biopsy is a procedure during which tissue from the lesion is harvested and sent to a lab for testing.
How Common Is Oral Cancer?
According to Healthline, oral cancer accounts for approximately three percent of annual cancer diagnoses in the United States. This means that there are roughly 53,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed every single year. It is most common in people over forty years of age and is about twice as common in men as it is in women, according to WebMD.
There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. The biggest risk factor is prolonged tobacco use. Heavy alcohol use also significantly increases your risk of this disease. If you have any risk factors, it is even more important that you receive regular oral cancer screenings. Early diagnosis can severely impact the success rate of treatments.
How Is Oral Cancer Treated?
Before a treatment plan is developed, the stage of cancer must be determined. As with other cancers, they are listed from stages one to four, with one being the earliest and least developed stage. The stage of oral cancer may be determined through the use of a small camera. Additional imaging may also be conducted to determine if cancer has spread or developed throughout the oral cavity.
Once the stage of the cancer is determined, then a treatment plan can be developed. Depending on the needs of the patient, only one type of treatment may be needed. More advanced oral cancer will usually require a combination of multiple types of treatments.
There are several types of surgical procedures utilized to treat oral cancer. The first two types of oral cancer involve removing the tumors from the oral cavity or the throat if it has spread to that area. The third type of surgery is oral reconstruction. The goal of this surgery is to restore the function of the mouth and throat to allow the patient to talk and eat normally.
Due to the many potential risk factors and severe consequences of advanced stages of oral cancer, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings. While our team at Rockton Dental strives to provide you with a smile that you can be proud of, we also take steps to ensure our patients are in good overall health and maintain a high quality of life. If you are ready to get established with our team, you can schedule your appointment by calling our office at (815) 624-3269.