Oral Cancer Screenings in Indiana
Oral cancer is a common and serious health threat, but many people don’t receive a diagnosis until the disease has become advanced. Your dentist can help you win the battle against mouth cancer by detecting it in its early stages when it’s easier to treat and cure.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a malignant tumor or growth that occurs inside the oral cavity. It can develop in the lining of your cheek or lips, your tongue, or your palate. The growth may start inside your mouth, or it may be an extension of cancer elsewhere in your body. You may be more likely to get oral cancer if you’re a male over the age of 50, a smoker or tobacco user, or a heavy drinker. The disease can also be linked to exposure to the human papilloma virus and to ultraviolet rays.
Easily Detectable Signs of Oral Cancer
Your doctor or dentist may discover these early signs of oral cancer inside of your mouth:
- Swollen, uneven, or thick areas of tissue
- Solid masses or raised growths
- Crusty or rough areas
- Flat white or colored patches
- Sores that don’t heal
Common Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer tongue or soft tissue growths may cause one or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Areas of tenderness or numbness
- Mouth pain
- Sore throat or pain when swallowing
- Foreign body sensations in the mouth or throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Problems moving your tongue or lips
- Differences in the sound of your voice
- Pain in one or both ears
- Bite changes
- Sudden denture discomfort
What Are the Stages of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer stages clearly describe the size of the cancerous growth and how far it has spread into other tissues. In stages I and II, the growths are less than two centimeters wide and have not spread. Stages III and IV describe more serious growths that are larger and have metastasized to nearby or distant tissues. Cancer discovered in later stages requires more aggressive treatment and is a more serious threat to health.
What Is the Cost of Oral Cancer Screening?
Many cancer screenings for other forms of cancer require a separate appointment and fee, but mouth cancer can be detected during a routine dental examination. Our dentists perform oral cancer screenings during every checkup at no additional cost. To check the health of your teeth and ease your fears at the same time, schedule your checkup with us today.
Detecting Oral Cancer
Typically, a manual or visual exam, oral cancer detection light, or toluidine blue dye test can reveal the presence of cancers within the mouth and upper throat. If a suspicious lesion is found, you may need to have a biopsy to confirm or rule out malignancy.
Tongue and Oral Cancer Survival Rate
Oral cancer five-year survival rates refer to patients who are alive five years after their diagnosis. For all mouth cancer patients combined, the rate is approximately 60 percent, but the prognosis for each patient is unique and depends on many factors. Our dentists can often discover cancer before it has spread, which greatly increases your chances of curing your oral cancer.
How Is Oral Cancer Treated?
Oral cancer treatment is usually a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
If you have any possible symptoms of oral cancer or a family history of the disease, don’t wait! Contact us today to schedule your dental exam and oral cancer screening in Indiana.