Oral cancer is a problem that can affect anyone at any time. However, there are risk factors like smoking, tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, and prolonged exposure to sun that can increase your chances. Recently, the number of oral cancer cases have grown year after year, making early detection more important than ever. While the effects of oral cancer can be life-threatening, if it’s caught early, it’s one of the most curable cancers. At Serene Family Dental, we are experienced at detecting oral cancer through screenings during your dental checkups.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can show up in many signs and it is often hard to detect on your own. That’s one of the reasons why screenings are vital. However, you should contact Dr. Rana Lee and our office right away if you notice any of these warning signs:
Red or white patches in your mouth
Changes in the color of soft tissue
Difficulty or pain when swallowing or chewing
Sores that won’t heal
Lumps, bumps, or growths
Pain in your mouth
Pain in your ears
What Does an Oral Cancer Screening Look Like?
Did you know that dentists alone catch around 84% of oral cancers early on? This is done by conducting a screening that only takes a few minutes from start-to-finish. Dr. Lee, an expert dentist in McKinney, will provide a visual and physical exam. She will thoroughly check your head, mouth, neck, tongue, cheeks, gums, throat, and any other related areas for abnormalities or signs of cancer. After, she may perform a noninvasive physical exam to find any potential lumps, bumps, or growths along your jawbone and lymph nodes. She never wants to find cancer, but she takes pride in knowing that she’s giving her patients their best chance of a full recovery if any symptoms are detected.
Next Steps After Oral Cancer Detection
If Dr. Lee finds a potential sign of cancer, she may order a biopsy for further investigation. Sometimes, symptoms can go away after a few weeks, so she may ask to reexamine you then. However, she will typically order a biopsy and refer you to an expert for immediate treatment just to be on the safe side. Your oral cancer screening is the first step towards a full recovery. If oral cancer is detected early on, it has one of the highest recovery rates, which is why it’s vital to your health to visit us for your biannual checkups.