Early Oral Cancer Detection Saves Lives
Oral cancer is a serious condition that can impact anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 54,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Early detection is critical to ensuring successful treatment outcomes and improving survival rates.
At Village Dental, Dr. Seth Zumstein is one of the best general dentists in Wayne, MI, for protecting your oral health. Learn more about oral cancer and the importance of routine screenings.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are simple, painless procedures that detect oral cancer in its early stages. It involves a visual examination of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, and throat, as well as a physical examination of the neck and head. During the screening, our dentist will look for abnormal areas or lumps that could be a sign of oral cancer.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a serious condition that can have severe consequences if not detected and treated early. Knowing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can help you seek prompt medical attention and improve your chances of successful treatment outcomes.
Signs of oral cancer may include:
- Painful mouth sores
- Red or white patches on the tongue, gums, or lining of the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Chronic sore throat
- Hoarseness or changes in the voice
- Swelling in the jaw or neck
- Unexplained weight loss
Types of Oral Cancer Screening
The visual exam is the most common type of oral cancer screening. During the exam, our Wayne dentist will use a bright light and mirror to examine the inside of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, and throat. They’ll look for any red or white patches, sores, or lumps that could be a sign of oral cancer.
During a physical exam, Dr. Zumstein will examine the neck and head for any lumps or abnormalities that could be a sign of oral cancer. They’ll feel for any lumps in the lymph nodes, which could indicate that the cancer has spread beyond the mouth.
If an abnormal area is found during the visual or physical exam, a biopsy may be recommended. A biopsy involves removing a small piece of tissue from the abnormal area and examining it under a microscope to determine if it’s cancerous.
Who Should Get Oral Cancer Screening?
While everyone should get an oral cancer screening at least once a year, certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing oral cancer than others. These groups include:
- Tobacco users
- Heavy drinkers
- People with a history of oral cancer in their family
- People with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- People over the age of 55
If you fall into one of these high-risk groups, consult your dentist in Wayne, MI, about an oral cancer screening.
The Importance of Regular Screenings
Regular oral cancer screenings are important, even if you don’t have symptoms. Early detection and treatment of oral cancer can significantly improve treatment outcomes and quality of life. By detecting oral cancer in its early stages, treatment can be less invasive and more effective.
Oral cancer screening is not a substitute for regular dental exams. In addition to oral cancer screening, routine dental exams can help identify other oral health issues and prevent more serious problems from developing.
Frequently Asked Questions
The American Dental Association recommends that adults 18 years and older should receive an oral cancer screening as part of their routine dental exam. Individuals at a higher risk for oral cancer may need more frequent screenings. If you are at a higher risk, speak with your healthcare professional about a screening schedule that is right for you.
Oral cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and inside lining of the cheeks and lips.
The main symptom of mouth cancer is a sore in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks. Other symptoms include pain or difficulty swallowing, chronic sore throat, hoarseness or changes in the voice, numbness in the mouth or lips, and swelling in the jaw or neck.
The spread of oral cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of cancer. Some types of oral cancer may grow and spread quickly, while others may grow slowly. Early detection and treatment are critical to improving the chances of successful outcomes in oral cancer.
Catch Oral Cancer Before it Spread with Regular Screenings
At Village Dental with Dr. Zumstein, we offer comprehensive oral cancer screenings as part of our routine dental exams. Our experienced team of dental professionals is committed to providing high-quality, compassionate care to patients in Romulus, Westland, Inkster, MI, and the surrounding areas.
If you have any concerns about oral cancer or would like to schedule an oral cancer screening’, please contact our Wayne office at (734) 722-1617.