Did you know that it’s estimated over 54,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year? One of the biggest threats to mouth cancer is that they are often detected once they’ve advanced. One of the best tools dentists have in the early detection of oral cancer is to conduct routine screenings. At Maegan Elam, DDS and Associates, we recommend this important preventative screening once per year.
As with any cancer, treating cancers of the mouth is much easier when it’s detected early. In fact, the survival rate of oral cancers in Stage 1 and Stage 2 is over 70%, while that number can decrease dramatically for more advanced stages. Identifying cancer early through the screening process dramatically increases the potential for success in treatment.
Many factors can contribute to a diagnosis of oral cancer, among the most common are:
Oral cancer screenings are quick, painless procedures that can be completed during a routine dental checkup. Your dentist will use a tongue depressor to thoroughly examine all the areas inside the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, throat, gums, and lips. They will then use their hands to feel around the neck and jawline for any lumps that may not be visible to the eye.
If something suspicious is detected during the cancer screening, we recommend sending you to a specialist for a biopsy and further examination. A biopsy is a medical procedure that removes a small tissue sample for further testing.
While the thought of an oral cancer screening may be scary, the procedure is non-invasive and can go a long way in improving your prognosis if something is identified. If you live in or around the Hurst, Euless, Bedford area, we invite you to call Maegan Elam, DDS and Associates today at (817) 241-3535 to learn more about the benefits of oral cancer screenings.