Oral Cancer Screening
Edge Dental Oral Cancer Screening Houston, TX.
Hearing the word cancer can invoke a significant amount of fear and anxiety. Cancer is a devastating disease that can strike just about anywhere in the body. Oral cancer is the largest group of head and neck cancers that can start just about anywhere in your mouth. This type of cancer affects over 40,000 Americans every single year and can be fatal if it is not detected and treated in the early stages.
However, signs and symptoms of the early stages of oral cancer can be difficult to detect. At Edge Dental, we are trained in detecting the earliest symptoms and perform oral cancer screenings at every regular dental exam.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can affect just about anyone. However, there are certain factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, that can increase your risk. Risk factors for oral cancer include
• Family history of oral cancer. Your risk is much greater if you have a close blood relative who has also suffered oral cancer.
• Certain strains of HPV. There are numerous strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV. A handful of these strains have been linked to oral cancer, with HPV16 having the strongest link.
• Lifestyle habits. Smoking has an incredibly strong connection to the development of oral cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption can also play a substantial role.
• Age. Older adults are at greater risk than younger individuals. Additionally, men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women. Men over the age of 55 have the highest risk.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The earliest symptoms are often very difficult to detect. For this reason, regular dental exams are crucial. We are experienced in detecting the earliest symptoms, allowing for early diagnosis and treatment. The earlier treatment is provided, the greater your likelihood of making a full recovery. During your dental exams, we check your mouth for signs of any abnormalities. Symptoms of oral cancer include
• Sores that do not heal, even though they have been present for longer than 2 weeks.
• Red or white patches on your intraoral tissues.
• Unusual growths.
• Changes in your bite.
• Numbness in your chin or jaw.
• You find it difficult to chew, speak, or swallow.
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
Your regular dental exams are only one part of diagnosing oral cancer. If we find anything suspicious during your routine exam, we then recommend you for a closer examination. During this exam, we focus on the abnormality we have found, looking it over carefully. Digital X-rays or a CT scan may also be taken.
Diagnosing oral cancer also often involves a soft tissue biopsy. This is a procedure that requires us to take a small sample of tissue from the abnormality so that we can examine the cells underneath a microscope. With a soft tissue biopsy, we can determine the presence of cancerous and precancerous cells. If we do find these cells present, we are then able to help you get the treatment you need right away.
Oral cancer screenings are performed at every dental exam. To detect the presence of oral cancer, and any other oral health issues, in the earliest stages, and receive prompt treatment, it is essential that you have your mouth examined every six months. Call Edge Dental at (281) 940-8940 for more information on oral cancer screenings and to schedule your next dental exam today.