Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is simple and quick, but can help you avoid a cancer that 8,000 Americans die from every year. At HomeTown Dental at Belknap, we include oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive oral health care so you can be reassured that you have nothing to worry about.
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer can move rapidly, and once it has spread is often fatal - the five-year survival rate for patients is less than 60%. Even among those who survive, they often must deal with permanent damage that can make it difficult or even impossible to talk, chew, and smile. The absolute best treatment for this scary disease is catching it early, and the best tool for the job is an oral cancer screening. It is not an exaggeration to say that an oral cancer screening can literally save your life.
What You Can Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
There is no need to specially prepare for an oral cancer screening, you can just come on in like any regular exam. Screenings are typically straightforward and involve both a visual and a physical exam. We carefully look for any abnormalities around your mouth, nose, and neck. We will also feel for strange lumps, especially under the chin and around the jaw. Sometimes we will also use special instruments and cameras to help give us a complete overview. All in all, most screenings take less than five minutes. During the screening, we urge you to share any concerns you might have so we can reassure you about the wide array of options we have available.
What Happens After Your Oral Cancer Screening
Depending on what we notice, we may recommend further tests or a follow-up appointment. This does not mean that you have oral cancer! The mouth is a complicated part of the human anatomy, and things can change rapidly. A particular symptom might indicate a lot of things - not necessarily cancer. By performing more tests or checking in with you a few weeks later, we can determine if something we found is actually oral cancer or if it is something more benign.
Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?
Everyone can benefit from an oral cancer screening, and it is fast and easy enough that we are happy to perform one if you want it. We especially recommend screenings for anyone who smokes, chews tobacco, or drinks regularly, or who has a history of having done any of these in the past. Excessive exposure to sunlight and HPV can also potentially raise the risk of developing oral cancer, so if you feel that you are in these groups you should be sure to specifically request a screening with every exam.
Get Screened Today
An oral cancer screening can be the difference between life and death, so we urge you to come in for a full exam and cleaning, including a screening, as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer, give HomeTown Dental at Belknap a call at 682-204-5735 today and discover how we can help you.