oral cancer screenings
A careful and thorough examination, along with an updated health history, can help us detect oral cancers at an early stage — when a positive outcome is most likely. Visit Rock Hill, SC’s local dentists to learn more.
Oral Cancer Statistics
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer each year. The NCI also reports that 8,000 people die of these cancers annually. It occurs twice as often in men as in women, and the median age at diagnosis is 62. It is estimated that 1 in 95 adults will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, a careful and thorough examination, along with an updated health history, can help us detect oral cancers at an early stage. Early cancer detection can frequently allow for a more favorable outcome.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Risk factors for oral and pharyngeal cancers include tobacco and alcohol use, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, age (over 44 years of age), gender (men are more likely to develop these cancers), ultraviolet (UV) light exposure (particularly for lip cancer) and nutrition (a diet rich in vegetables and fruit lowers the incidence).
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
The persistence of the following symptoms for two weeks or more means you should consult our Rock Hill dental clinic or your physician for a biopsy:
White and/or red patches on the cheek or tongue
A lump or thickening of oral soft tissues
Difficulty chewing or swallowing
Difficulty in moving the tongue or jaw
Sore or numb throat
Hoarseness or a change in voice
How Do Dentists Screen for Oral Cancer?
At Culp Dental, our dentists examine the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches and mouth sores. We’ll wear gloves to feel your mouth tissues for evidence of lumps or other abnormalities.
If any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions are found, we may recommend a follow-up visit to re-check your mouth, or a biopsy to remove a sample of cells for laboratory testing. Some dentists perform the biopsy themselves, while others refer you to a cancer specialist.