Oral cancer kills one person every hour of the day. It is expected that nearly 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year alone. Unfortunately, when an oral cancer diagnosis is given during late stages of the disease, the survival rate is low. This makes early detection through annual oral cancer screenings a must for all patients.
Should You Get Screened?
Every adult, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of oral cancer, should get an annual screening. There are patients, however, that are at higher risk than others, including long-term tobacco and alcohol users as well as young, healthy non-smokers who have been exposed to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma version 16).
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?
At Smile Design Studios, this can be accomplished in just minutes as part of your routine dental visit. In fact, we’ve invested in the latest oral cancer detection technology to ensure we catch mouth cancer at the earliest and most treatable stage.
Screenings are quick, painless and non-invasive. Not only will we conduct a visual examine of your mouth, face and neck to check for suspicious lesions or sores, but we also use the advanced VELscope oral cancer detection technology. The VELscope’s blue light stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of your mouth, which can eliminate signs of disease that is not visible with the naked eye. We may also ask you some questions about tobacco and alcohol use. The entire exam takes just a few minutes.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
In between your annual oral cancer screenings, it is important that you know the warning signs to look for. If you have the following symptoms, don’t wait until your next oral cancer screening – go ahead and schedule an appointment with us:
- Any sore that does not heal within 14 days.
- Hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
- A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
- Numbness in the oral region.
- Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
- Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Ear pain that occurs on one side only.
- A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
- A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth or on the neck.
Oral cancer screenings can save lives. When was the last time you were checked for oral cancer? Schedule your mouth cancer screening today at our Houston dental clinic.