Oral Cancer Screening
One of the many reasons we are such huge proponents of bi-annual dental visits is because we are big advocates of prevention and early detection. When you come in to our office for an examination we are able to check on a whole host of issues that could otherwise go undetected. Oral cancer screenings are a prime example of an issue that, if detected early enough, can easily be treated and prevented from growing into a much more complex problem. We screen all of our patients at least once a year for oral cancer.
Signs of Oral Cancer
The term “oral cancer” refers to any cancer whose origin is within your lips, gums, cheek linings, tongue, and throat. It is important that you not ignore changes within your mouth. Take care and note issues you have with chewing, swallowing, and speaking. If you ever notice a growth or bump within your mouth, please call us immediately to schedule an appointment.
There are many potential signs and symptoms of cancer within the mouth and throat. Sores in your mouth that are quick to bleed and do not go away are a possible sign of cancer. Rough or crusty spots, lumps, and places that seem tender or numb are warning signs as well. If you start to notice that your teeth fit together differently or your jaw seems fatigued this is also a sign that you should come in to be checked out.
VELscope Cancer Screening
Here at Dougherty Laybourn Menashe Dental we believe in adopting technology that works. One of the most exciting pieces of cancer detection technology in recent years is the VELscope cancer screening device. Often, when people think of cancer screening they think “invasive”. Between tissue biopsies and injected dyes, most forms of cancer screenings are fairly invasive. With the VELscope we are able to give you a completely non-invasive form of cancer detection.
The VELscope works using an ultraviolet light that we shine into your mouth. The wavelengths of this light coupled with a visual filter built into the tool allow us to see cancerous and pre-cancerous tissue within your mouth. Not only is it an easy and quick procedure, all it takes is shining a light into your mouth and looking around.
Things that put you at risk for oral cancer are mostly linked to tobacco use. If you are a smoker it is in your best interest to stop smoking if you wish to avoid mouth cancer. Whether or not you are able to quit, making sure to have a checkup with us every six months should be a very high priority. If we are able to catch cancer, or the signs of cancer early we stand a much better chance of being able to eradicate it.
Heavy drinking also puts people at a much higher than average risk for oral cancer. A very high percentage of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are also heavy drinkers.
If you have questions of concerns regarding oral cancer, or if you need to schedule an appointment with us, please call 503-334-1141 today.