Oral Cancer Screening for Early Detection and Prevention
Dr. Donald Tucker provides oral cancer screenings at his Williamsville, NY, dental practice. This preventive screening serves as the first line of defense in the early diagnosis and timely treatment of oral cancer. The screening process includes a visual examination of the mouth, which can help detect issues early on, and allows us to take proactive steps in the treatment process. Patients can rest assured that Dr. Tucker will listen to their concerns and answer all their questions. Dr. Tucker also makes himself available after hours in case of emergencies.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer includes any form of cancer that affects the mouth, including the roof, floor, sides, lips, gums, or cheeks. Successful treatment often depends on how quickly patients are diagnosed. Detecting cancer in the early stages can significantly increase patients' chances for a faster and more successful treatment process.
What Are the Warning Signs?
Early detection and prevention methods are the best approach when it comes to dental and oral health. If you notice any warning signs or abnormal symptoms, it is best to contact us as soon as possible. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Pain or sores in or around the mouth that do not get better over two weeks
- Abnormal patches of red or white tissue
- Any lumps, rough textures, erosions, or unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing, eating, talking, or opening your mouth
- Persistent pain in your throat or ears
- Sudden, unplanned weight loss
Who Is at Risk for Oral Cancer?
On average, people over the age of 50, especially men, have a greater chance of developing oral cancer. Those at a higher risk also include:
- Heavy smokers or drinkers, especially over age 50
- Patients with HPV (human papilloma virus)
- Tobacco users
- Previous cancer patients
- Those with a family history of cancer
- Those whose lips have been highly exposed to the sun
Understanding the Screening Process
During your dental check-ups and cleanings, Dr. Tucker will conduct a visual examination of your mouth, in addition to palpating your throat, neck, and jaw. He will use his gloved hands to look and feel for any abnormal rough patches, sores, or irregularly colored areas on your gums, the inner lining of your cheeks, the roof and floor of your mouth, and your lips. If you wear a removable prosthetic it will need to be removed so he can thoroughly examine the gums and tissue.
Since successful treatment of oral cancer is linked to how quickly patients receive a diagnosis, it is important to stay up to date with dental cleanings and exams.
While screening can help in early detection and preventive care, a visual examination may not be able to detect all types of mouth cancers. If you are concerned about any symptoms or abnormalities, you are encouraged to discuss these with Dr. Tucker. Sometimes, further testing may be suggested.
Schedule Your Appointment
Since successful treatment of oral cancer is linked to how quickly patients receive a diagnosis, it is important to stay up to date with your routine dental cleanings and exams. Contact us today to schedule this very important appointment.