When it comes to your oral health, nothing is more important to us than making sure that you do not contract any disease, and should you do so, nipping it in the bud as soon as possible. Here at PDX Center for Dentistry – we want the best for you, including when it comes to examinations. They may seem just routine to you, but it is essential that you follow through with each visit. This way, we can check for oral cancer. If we do not catch it straight away and it spreads to other parts of your body, you risk survival chances dropping to below 40%.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is cancer that attacks anywhere in your oral cavity or throat. It can affect everything from your cheeks to your gums, teeth, throat, and tongue. Every six months or so we advise that you come in for a regular check-up appointment. When you do so, we monitor your oral health from all angles, but in particular, we always perform a screening for oral cancer. When it comes to survival rates after being diagnosed, it all depends on timing, which is why it is so important that we catch it early. If you get treatment right away, your chances of survival are usually above 80%. However, the longer you go untreated, the higher the risk of it traveling to other parts of your body. If this happens, your survival rate drastically decreases. As a result, you could find yourself looking at a survival rate of 38% or even less.
What Do We Look For?
When it comes to screening for oral cancer, there are a few key symptoms we are on the lookout for. Firstly, we look for sores, particularly those that either bleed profusely, oozes a foreign substance, or simply do not heal over time. This could be a sign that there is a deficiency in your body somewhere and it may lead us back to cancer. Otherwise, we can find the source of the problem and still offer you a treatment plan. Like in other areas of the body, we also look for lumps. Strange lumps should always be examined, as they all have the potential to be either malignant or benign as tissue collects where it is not supposed to. If an area of the mouth has grown thicker or had a crust grow over it, this could also indicate a problem. Nerve damage can also be a result of cancer, so we are on the lookout for areas that are numb or particularly painful for an unknown reason. Finally, we look for a change in the way your teeth fit together or in your bite pattern in general, as this can indicate a problem beneath the surface that is exerting pressure on your teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, please see us at the PDX Center for Dentistry as soon as possible so that we can keep you healthy and safe. Make sure that if your check-up is coming up, do not neglect it!