Oral cancer is one of the most deadly cancers diagnosed in America today. An estimated 45,750 men and women will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and only about half of these will successfully fight the disease and continue living beyond the five year point following diagnosis. Successful treatment is contingent upon early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Oral Cancer Screening
Like many other aggressive forms of cancer, oral cancer typically progresses to a state of advanced severity before it presents with obvious symptoms. This is yet another reason that checkups are so vital to oral health and continued physical wellness. An oral cancer screening allows us to closely and thoroughly examine all of the soft tissue surfaces within the mouth using specialized technology to pinpoint areas of potential concern.
This is conducive to early detection and the rapid beginning of treatment.
While oral cancer screening cannot be replaced by a simple visual examination at home, there are some signs that you can keep an eye out for between appointments:
• Red or white patches anywhere in the mouth
• Numbness or tingling sensations
• Persistent cough, with or without pain
• Unexplained bleeding anywhere in the mouth
• An ulcer that does not heal
• Lumps or thickening of the skin anywhere in the mouth
• Pain when chewing or speaking
• A change in the way your dentures fit
A disturbing trend is that an increasing number of oral cancer cases are being caused by HPV16 (a type of Human Papilloma Virus) that effects the mucus membranes and skin. It tends to affect the back of the mouth, including the oropharynx, the tonsils, and the base of the tongue. Unfortunately, since these types of cancer are in the back of the mouth, the color changes and lesions that often signal the presence of oral cancer can be more easily overlooked by patients.
If you notice any of the above symptoms or any other abnormalities, contact us immediately to schedule your appointment. Call Smile Esthetics Scottsdale at (480) 867-1727 today.