The lifetime risk of developing oral cancer is 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. Factors like family history, tobacco use, sun exposure, and more can all increase an individual’s chances of oral cancer. Because of this, our Cadillac dentists perform oral cancer screenings and oral examinations to catch symptoms early.
Why Screenings Are Performed
Our dentists have one goal during oral cancer screenings and that is to catch any symptoms before they worsen. It is estimated that about 50,000 people in the U.S. get oral cancer each year and this includes those of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. Early detection can equal more manageable treatment and faster recovery.
Some symptoms of oral cancer to look out for include:
- Swelling, lumps, bumps, or rough spots on the lips, gums, cheek, or other areas of the mouth
- White, red, or speckled velvety patches in the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness, pain, or tenderness in the face, mouth, or neck
- Sores that bleed easily on the face, neck, or mouth and don’t heal within 2 weeks
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
Everyone can benefit from a screening but people with a higher risk of oral cancer are especially encouraged to have one performed by our dentists. There is no special preparation required and the process only takes a few minutes.
What You Can Expect
Oral cancer screenings are quick and painless. While you are seated in the dental chair, one of our hygienists will put on gloves to look inside your mouth for any suspicious red, white, or speckled patches or sores. They will also feel around your mouth and on your neck for any lumps, bumps, or abnormalities.
If anything of concern is found, you and our dentists will be informed before next steps are determined. Additional tests, like an ordered biopsy, may be required to confirm the presence and stage of cancer. We also may follow up with you shortly to see if the abnormality has grown or changed.
Catch Symptoms of Oral Cancer Early
Even if you are not at high risk for oral cancer, it is still important to undergo a quick screening at least once a year. Our dentists in Cadillac, MI, can screen you and your family members for oral cancer the next time you’re in for a routine teeth cleaning. Request an appointment online or call LifeSmiles Dentistry at (231) 775-8281.