Most of our family dentistry patients are surprised to discover that oral cancer is diagnosed in over 30,000 people each year in the United States and that half of those diagnosed with mouth cancer die within 5 years. Mouth cancer is more prevalent than many other types of cancer that receive more attention in the media and in medicine. Oral cancer’s biggest threat is that many times it is not detected early enough. We educate patients about mouth cancer not to scare them, but to make sure they are informed so they can have excellent oral health.
In the past, a traditional oral cancer screening consisted of looking at and feeling the tissue in and around the mouth. Modern technology, however, has given us an even better way to detect cancer of the mouth in its earliest stages with a more modern oral cancer screening method using up to date oral cancer screening procedures.
In addition to the traditional oral cancer screening, we recommend each of our patients have a Velscope® oral cancer screening exam done each year. The Velscope exam consists of an oral rinse and a special light that helps identify any abnormalities in the tissue in your mouth, which may or may not be mouth cancer. Velscope helps identify oral cancer at its earliest stages which can mean the difference between life and death.
Mouth Cancer Symptoms
These symptoms do not mean you necessarily have mouth cancer, but it is a good idea to schedule a oral cancer screening as soon as possible:
- If you have a sore that isn’t healing quickly or at all
- If you have a lump or skin or lining of your mouth that is thickening
- On the inside of your mouth, if you have a white or reddish patch
- Loose teeth that have hadn’t had an obvious injury, such as a sports injury
- If your dentures stop fitting properly
- Pain in your tongue or jaw
- Difficult or painful chewing or swallowing (that isn’t associated with the flu or a sore throat or strep throat)
- Sore throat that has no other flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose
- Feeling like something is caught in your throat, even if you haven’t recently eaten
Make sure to have a Velscope oral cancer screening done each year to make sure you do not have mouth cancer and to ensure you have the best dental health you possibly can. Call today.