What Is Oral Pathology?
Oral cancer is a very serious medical concern, affecting the lives of many Americans. With about 50,000 new cases being diagnosed each year in the United States alone, proactive screenings for oral cancer are simply imperative. At LANCO Dental Care, we routinely perform oral cancer screenings for our patients using advanced VELscope® Vx technology to enhance our diagnostic abilities. We also educate patients on how to conduct self-oral cancer screenings periodically to identify any areas in or around the mouth that may not appear normal. If you or a family member detects any abnormalities, nodules, lumps, sores, or other issues concerning your oral health, we encourage you to schedule a visit at our Lancaster, PA practice right away for an oral pathology screening and evaluation.
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What Are the Oral Cancer Risk Factors?
Oral cancer can impact tissues within any area of the mouth, including the gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jawbone, soft and hard palates (roof of the mouth), the tonsillar (throat) area, and the floor of the mouth. A range of factors can also elevate the risk of oral cancer among patients, such as sun exposure, excessive alcohol use, tobacco (all forms), genetics, poor oral health, general health concerns, HPV (human papillomavirus), and more. If you or a loved one notices changes in the tissues in or around the mouth, has sores that bleed or do not heal, or any other concerns, please visit with our team promptly. Even bumps or lesions in the mouth that have been present for over an extended period of time (without change) can still be cause for concern and should be evaluated on a routine basis.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms Oral Cancer?
Though it is important to point out that not all abnormal lesions are precancerous or cancerous, any suspicious symptoms or areas should be examined by a dental professional. Pain may or may not accompany oral cancer or tissue abnormalities. We recommend that you make an appointment with our Lancaster, PA dental team right away if you notice or experience any of the following concerns:
- Bumps or nodules
- White or red patches
- Raised or rough tissue
- Sores that bleed easily
- Lesions that do not heal
- Lasting sore throat
- Chronic hoarse voice
- Mass or lump in the throat
- Trouble with swallowing
What Is The Screening Process?
Our team is dedicated to helping Lancaster, PA patients detect signs of oral cancer as early as possible and conduct very thorough intra- and extraoral head and neck examinations on a routine basis. To enhance our screening capabilities, we utilize the VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System alongside a traditional oral cancer examination. Employed through a handheld device, the VELscope system emits a blue spectrum light that causes tissue abnormalities to fluoresce (stand out), allowing us to detect areas of concern with enhanced success. This approach helps us to potentially identify precancerous, cancerous, and abnormal tissues that may go undetected with the naked eye. Oral cancer screenings with VELscope are simple, noninvasive, and only take about two minutes to complete during a routine cleaning and exam visit.
Is there Any Follow-Up Care?
After we complete your oral cancer examination, our team will review any findings or concerns with you. We may take a small sample of the tissue to be tested for oral pathology or partner with a local specialist to provide further evaluation or care. Keeping up with monthly self-oral cancer evaluations at home can help you become familiar with your mouth and better equip you to identify what is normal and areas that may be cause for concern. If you notice any changes in the tissue in or around your mouth or on your head or neck area between visits, please contact our team so that we may provide a prompt examination.
Oral Pathology FAQ
How often should I have an oral cancer screening?
Patients should be screened for mouth cancer at leas once a year. Typically, most patients will be screened twice a year during their biannual cleanings. To make an appointment for oral cancer screening, contact our Lancaster, PA office today. It is important to be diagnosed with oral cancer as early as possible for the most optimal treatment results.
What happens if my dentist finds signs of oral cancer?
In most instances, if signs of oral cancer are found, our team will take a sample for a biopsy. If the results of the biopsy indicate oral cancer, we will partner with you to discuss your treatment options. Our team is committed to supporting you every step of the way.
What can an biopsy tell you?
A biopsy of the oral tissue will be sent to a lab to be examined for a more precise analysis and diagnosis. The results of your biopsy will help our team determine if you will need treatment for oral cancer or suspected another oral condition.
Dedicated to Early Detection
Identifying and treating oral cancer as early as possible offers a more favorable long-term prognosis. Any abnormalities in the mouth, no matter how minor they may seem, could be a sign of something serious and should be evaluated right away. If you have noticed unusual signs or symptoms in your mouth or are at a higher risk for oral cancer, we urge you to schedule an appointment at LANCO Dental Care for an oral cancer screening. Our Lancaster, PA team is dedicated to health-centered care and strives to help individuals detect abnormalities as early as possible.