Oral Cancer Screening
Approximately 49,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year in the United States. But, there is good news—early detection increases the likelihood of successfully treating this disease.
What is Oral Cancer and who does it affect?
Oral cancers are often found on the tongue, gums, lips, and other areas. Oropharyngeal cancer occurs in the oropharynx, the area of the throat directly behind the mouth.
Risk factors of oral cancer include, but are not limited to the following:
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes)
- Alcohol use
- Exposure to ultraviolet (U/V) light or excessive sunlight
- Continued, long-term trauma
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Genetic syndromes
To prevent oral cancer, avoid these risk factors whenever possible and be sure to keep up with regular dental exams. Early detection is the key to preventing abnormal growths from developing into oral cancer.
What to Expect with an Oral Cancer Screening
During your routine oral examinations at Smile Hilliard, Dr. Sanyk will perform an oral cancer screening to identify any signs of potential cancer. Sometimes, oral cancer can appear as a sore or abnormal growth on the lips, tongue, cheek, or other areas of the mouth.
In addition to the screening, we take a panoramic x-ray every 3-5 years which provides Dr. Sanyk with further information regarding the health of the jaw, joints and sinus cavities. This x-ray is useful in detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s easiest to treat, and allows for the best chance of a positive treatment outcome.
The sooner that signs of oral cancer can be identified, the better. If, during our screening, we suspect abnormal cells that could be oral cancer, we’ll immediately refer you to the appropriate physician for further testing. They may perform a biopsy to confirm or dis-affirm the presence of abnormal or cancerous cells. We are also more than happy to stay involved in your treatment process, should you require additional treatment after a biopsy.