ORAL CANCER SCREENING IN HOUSTON, TX
Oral cancer screening is no exception and can be a lifesaver if caught in its early stages. In this article, we’ll take a look at what oral cancer screening involves, why it’s important and how you can get it. We’ll also cover who should get screened, when you should get it done and how often.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Oral cancer is often first diagnosed by a dentist during a routine exam. Symptoms of oral cancer may include a sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal, bleeding from the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist or doctor right away for an evaluation.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the mouth or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, and floor of the mouth. Oral cancer is more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age. Other risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV).
Symptoms of oral cancer
There are many different symptoms of oral cancer, and they can vary depending on the individual. However, some common symptoms include:
- A sore or irritation in the mouth that does not go away
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Lump or mass in the mouth or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in taste or smell
- Hoarseness or voice changes
- Pain in the ear
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor or dentist right away for an evaluation. Oral cancer is often curable if caught early, so prompt treatment is essential.
We screen for oral cancer during a routine exam by examining the inside of your mouth, as well as checking your jaw and neck. We’ll feel along the underside of your jawline and on the sides of your neck looking for any irregularities. We also examine the sides of your tongue as well as the roof and floor of your mouth. As with all other types of cancer, early detection is key to treatment. We look for any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. If anything is detected, we may use more advance technology to test any abnormal cells and determine their malignance.
Prevention of oral cancer
The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid using tobacco products and to drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. It is also important to practice good oral hygiene and to see a dentist regularly for checkups.
If you wear dentures, you may be ask to remove them in order to provide a clearer view of your mouth. We’ll look for patches of red or white inside your mouth, as these are indicators of precancerous lesions. We may have you rinse your mouth with a blue dye, which can sometimes be absorbed by abnormal cells inside the mouth, making them significantly easier to locate. Shining a light into your mouth also helps reveal abnormal tissue, as it will appear to be white, standing out against the normally dark looking tissue in your mouth. If cancerous or precancerous signs are detected, a biopsy may be necessary to test the cells more extensively and determine if they are indeed cancerous.
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure that can be performed by your dentist or primary care provider. During the screening, a small brush or swab is used to collect cells from the inside of your mouth. The collected cells are then examined under a microscope for signs of cancer. If any abnormal cells are found, further testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Where can I get an oral cancer screening in Houston, TX?
There are many places to get an oral cancer screening in Houston, TX. Your dentist or primary care doctor can do a visual exam of your mouth and throat to look for any signs of cancer. If you’re interested in getting an oral cancer screening, you should talk to your dentist or primary care doctor. They can help you find a place to get screened and answer any questions you have about the process.