Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that forms in the tissue of the mouth. It can affect various areas of the mouth, including the lips, cheeks, inner lining of the lips and cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth. The most common form of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for 90% of all oral cancer cases.
Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of your regular dental checkups. Early detection and treatment often mean a greater chance for recovery. However, if oral cancer is allowed to progress, it can spread to the lymph nodes. Oral cancer is life-threatening if not caught and treated in its early stages.
Oral cancer is a malignant disease that begins in the mouth. It can spread to other areas of the body, such as the head and neck. Oral cancer is most common in those who are over 50 years old and in those who smoke or drink alcohol excessively. Oral cancer causes include tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, viral infection, and exposure to the human papillomavirus. The signs of oral cancer include red or white patches in the mouth, a lump or thickening in the lining of the mouth, and bleeding.
During a dental visit, your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening. This means that your dentist will examine your mouth for signs of cancer.
A dentist will conduct oral cancer screening by visually inspecting the patient’s mouth - lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue, for suspicious lumps, sores, or discolored tissue. The dentist will also palpate the mouth to feel for hard or abnormal tissues. If they see anything suspicious that looks like pre-cancerous cells, the dentist will refer you to a specialist who can perform further testing to confirm whether the tissue is pre-cancerous or cancerous.
Oral cancer is a very serious but treatable disease if identified in its initial stages. Detecting it early through oral cancer screening can save your life.
Dentists recommend women and men aged 21 and older have an annual oral cancer screening. This exam can be completed in just a few minutes and is completely painless. During the screening, your dentist will check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
To learn more about oral cancer screening, contact Korte Family Dentistry at (402) 489-3115 or visit us at 3901 Normal Blvd STE 202, Lincoln, NE 68506. We will be happy to guide you further.