Oral cancer, just like any other type of cancer, can be detected through screenings, accidentally, or when a patient mentions they are experiencing symptoms. Oral cancer screenings are performed by us here at Edgartown Dental Group in Edgartown, MA whenever a patient visits us for a checkup.
They take 5 minutes and are painless. It’s recommended that you visit a dentist twice a year, or every six months. Oral cancer screening is one of the reasons this is advised.
The risk factors of oral cancer include the use of tobacco, regular drinking, and prior oral cancer. Having these doesn’t mean that you’ll get oral cancer, but they mean that you’re more likely to get it than others.
Many people who have oral cancer are asymptomatic, which is why screenings are valuable. Detecting cancer early leads to better prognosis. Nonetheless, if you notice any symptoms, you should give us a call to schedule an appointment.
These symptoms can include a sore or ulcer that won’t heal, a lump or mass in your mouth or on the lips, white or red patches, change in voice, ear pain, difficulty chewing, or swelling that’s making your dentures fit poorly.
Screening for oral cancer is pretty easy. We first inspect for any of the abnormalities mentioned like lumps, sores, or discolored patches, and then we might insert a finger to feel areas we can’t visualize properly. Doing so helps us guarantee that we don’t miss anything.
Any abnormalities found are no reason to panic. It takes more than finding a lump or sore from diagnosing cancer. The diagnosis of cancer anywhere in the body, not just the mouth, needs a biopsy.
We take a sample of the abnormal tissue found and send it for testing. The pathology report lets us know whether or not what we found is cancer. There’s no need to worry before we get the results back.
After we get them, we’ll set a plan together and discuss all of a patient’s treatment options, whether the mass or ulcer turns out to be benign or something else.