Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by Dr. Newell to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.
VELscope uses fluorescence to identify pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on your tongue, throat, lips, palate, and gum tissue. Oral cancer is serious and affects approximately 48,000 Americans each year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
The Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
While some cases of oral cancer cannot be explained, some risk factors do increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
- Tobacco use
- Human papilloma virus
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Constant irritation – biting or rubbing from dentures or bruxism
- Certain autoimmune conditions
- Age – older people are more likely to get oral cancer
- Being male
Oral cancer can be a particularly devastating form of cancer. As with all cancers, early detection followed by early treatment can improve your prognosis dramatically.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Sometimes, cancer lesions can go undetected in the mouth. They may not cause pain or alarm because you might not notice them. This is one of the many reasons that regular dental exams are essential to your overall health.
If oral cancer does present symptoms, it may include:
- A persistent lesion that will not heal
- Unexplained bleeding
- Discolored tissue – white, red, or a combination of both
- A feeling of something caught in your throat
- Changes in the fit of your dentures
If anything feels off or you have noticed changes in your mouth, let us know. We can help!