Routine Oral Cancer Screenings Greatly Increase Early Detection
Oral cancer refers to an abnormal cell grouping on the lips, tongue, tonsils, sides of the throat, or roof/floor of the mouth. Oral cancer screenings are a simple but vital part of annual dental check-ups. They allow your dentist to check for signs of problems to identify cancer symptoms for early treatment that can improve long-term outcomes.
At LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA, our dentists encourage patients to get yearly oral cancer screenings. We use the advanced VELscope® Vx technology to enhance our diagnostic abilities and look for the earliest signs of cancer.
Keep reading to find out how these screenings work and why they're vital for the early detection and removing pre-cancerous lesions.
Who should get an oral cancer screening?
Everyone should get an oral cancer screening as 50,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly (and those are just among the people who get these screenings during dental exams).
It's essential to get an oral cancer screening if you:
- Use tobacco of any kind
- Get a lot of sun exposure without protecting your lips
- Drink alcohol
- Have previously had oral cancer
These factors all increase your risk of oral cancer.
Why are oral cancer screenings important?
Oral cancer screenings are designed to catch signs of cancer early so patients can get swift treatment and improve their long-term outcomes. Skipping these screenings can allow cancer to grow undetected and spread to other areas of your body, making it harder to treat.
That's why the dentists at LANCO Dental Care also teach patients how to conduct self-exams and why we get the message out about the importance of oral cancer screenings each year in April during Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Patients are encouraged to look for and report any of the following issues to their dentist:
- Areas that look abnormal with no explanation
- Nodules, lumps, or sores that don't go away
- Mouth pain or pain that is exacerbated by chewing, swallowing, or opening the mouth
- White or red patches inside the mouth
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Raised or rough tissue
- Sores that bleed easily
- Chronic sore throat
What does an oral cancer screening feel like?
Oral cancer screenings are not considered painful. Our dentists will ask you questions and then visually inspect your mouth, lips, and throat for signs of abnormal cell growth. They will also likely palpate the neck, jaw, chin, and cheeks and feel around inside your mouth with a gloved finger to detect any growths. Our VELscope Vx technology is another noninvasive method used by our dentists to detect abnormalities that the naked eye can't see.
If the dentists at LANCO Dental Care find an area of concern, they may refer you to a specialist for a biopsy.
Get an oral cancer screening in Lancaster, PA
While oral cancer screening can't find cancer with 100% accuracy, LANCO Dental Care has more tools than most offices for early detection. Our screenings are valuable in detecting signs of cancer before they spread, allowing you to get the earliest treatment possible.
To get an oral cancer screening in Lancaster, PA, schedule an appointment with the team at LANCO Dental Care today.