Oral Cancer Screening in Vallejo, CA
Oral cancer is cancer found in or around your mouth, in the back of your throat, or on your lips or tongue. It affects about 43,000 new people each year, and the prevalence is growing both in America and worldwide. Oral cancer is a particularly dangerous form of cancer with only about half of the people treated surviving over five years. The treatment for oral cancer typically combines the skills of surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapy oncologists, dentists, and counselors.
Treatment for oral cancer can cause disfigurement because of the necessity to remove the margins of the cancerous tissue. Oftentimes, by the time that oral cancer is diagnosed and treated, it is already in its later stages.
More than 50% of Americans do not go to the dentist every six months, as recommended. This is particularly dangerous because your dentist is the one who is most likely to find a suspicious lesion and request a biopsy since they look in your mouth regularly at your routine exams.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Often, oral cancer has no outwardly detectable symptoms and only subtle visual symptoms. The two most common presentations of oral cancer are white or red lesions in the soft tissue of your mouth. Other symptoms include lumps, bumps, cracks, or ulcers in and around your mouth. Oral cancer can also affect your jaw and cause swelling or trouble opening and closing your mouth. It can also affect your vocal chords, causing hoarseness or other changes in your voice.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Certain behaviors dramatically increase your risk or oral cancer. Consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes are two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer. Other risk factors include a genetic predisposition or the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Exposure to the sun can cause oral cancer on your lips, and your overall risk increases with age.
If you do not eat your fruits and vegetables, you may also increase your risk of oral cancer. A healthy diet and lifestyle is important in the prevention of many types of cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings
When you are a patient at our Vallejo dental office, Dr. Morgan Nordstrom and Dr. William Vizzolini perform an oral cancer screening as part of your regular dental exam, looking for the earliest signs and symptoms of oral cancer. If something looks suspicious, we can request a biopsy. Early diagnosis increases your chances of survival for all types of cancer.
Your dentist knows the first signs of oral cancer. Going to your routine exam and professional cleaning at least every six months supports your health in numerous ways, including prevention of periodontal disease or decay and identifying any cracks or other problems with your teeth.
Schedule Your Next Routine Exam
Are you due for your professional dental exam and cleaning? Give us a call and one of our helpful and friendly dental professionals will assist you in finding a time that works well for you. Your routine exams are the foundation of your oral health.