Oral Cancer Screening in Colorado Springs
If you don’t smoke, you may think you don’t have to be concerned about oral cancer. However, over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who don’t smoke!
If you are a patient of Dr. Gary Moore’s at Stetson Hills Dental, you can get an oral cancer screening during your regular exam and cleaning that is quick and painless. To help with this screening, Dr. Moore uses some of the latest, most state-of-the-art dental technology.
What is oral cancer?
Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and damage the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer affects the floor of the mouth, the hard or soft palate, the cheeks, lips, tongue, throat, or sinuses.
It is very important to catch and treat oral cancer in the early stages. If it isn’t caught early and treated, it may spread to another part of the body. Early detection can make all the difference when it comes to beating oral cancer.
In the early stages, the patient might not even notice any signs of cancer and may not have any pain. This makes oral cancer very dangerous, and also makes it all the more important for Dr. Moore to perform an oral cancer screening.
If you do notice any of the following symptoms, you shouldn’t wait until your next appointment at Stetson Hills Dental. Make an appointment with Dr. Moore right away if you notice:
- A lump, bump, or rough spot in or around the mouth;
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth;
- A chronic sore throat;
- A constant feeling that something is stuck in the back of the throat;
- Tenderness or a numb feeling in the head or neck;
- Red or white patches in the mouth;
- A sudden change in the way teeth fit together when biting down, or a sudden change in; the way dentures fit;
- A sudden change in the voice, such as hoarseness;
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, or difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing; and/or
- Sores in or around the mouth, face, or neck that bleed easily and don’t heal within two weeks.
How can I prevent oral cancer?
The National Cancer Institute reports that the number of new cases of oral cancer and the number of deaths caused by oral cancer have been decreasing over the past 30 years. However, new cases of oral cancer caused by some types of HPV have increased.
HPV stands for “human papillomavirus.” One kind of HPV is spread through sexual contact. If you have been diagnosed with HPV, an increased risk of oral cancer is something to be aware of.
Those who smoke and drink alcohol have an increased risk of getting oral cancer. And it isn’t just people who use a pipe or smoke cigars or cigarettes — people who use chewing tobacco also have an increased risk.
The risk for oral cancer also increases in people who have a family history of cancer, who have had excessive exposure to sunlight, or who excessively consume alcohol. It is most commonly found in older adults, in men, and in African-Americans.
If you are concerned about oral cancer, don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco products. Limit your exposure to the sun and wear sunscreen when you are outside. Drink alcohol in moderation. And, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with exercise and a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
What is the oral cancer screening procedure?
An oral cancer screening can be performed during your regular dental exam and cleaning appointment.
Dr. Moore will check for any symptoms of oral cancer, and he will perform a visual exam by looking for any sores or discolored tissue. He will feel your neck, head, and oral cavity for any lumps or irregularities. And, Dr. Moore will also use the latest in dental technology to check for any signs of cancer. He will use a special ultraviolet light that detects potential cancer cells.
What is the next step if Dr. Moore sees signs of oral cancer?
If Dr. Moore sees any suspicious tissue, he may want to do an oral brush biopsy. This is a painless procedure. A small sample of cells is removed and sent to a lab for analysis. Or, he may recommend a scalpel biopsy to remove cells for analysis. This procedure requires a local anesthetic.
Dr. Moore may ask you to come back for a follow up visit in a few weeks. During this visit he will see if the abnormal area is still there, and if so, check to see if it has changed in size, shape or density.
If you are concerned that you may have signs of oral cancer, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at Stetson Hills Dental! It is important to catch this disease as early as possible.
To have Dr. Moore and his staff perform a thorough screening, call (719) 694-0400 today!