Oral Cancer Screenings in Munster, IN
Thousands of patients develop oral cancer each year, and unfortunately, many growths have already advanced to more dangerous stages by the time they’re detected. Fortunately, with help from your dentist, you can beat the odds by detecting the disease early.
Oral Cancer Awareness: What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a malignant growth that affects the tissues inside your mouth, which include your tongue, gums, cheek lining, and upper throat. Cancers may be primary lesions, or they may spread to your mouth from cancerous growths elsewhere in your body. You have a higher risk of developing oral cancer if any of the following factors apply to you:
- More than 50 years old
- Excessive sun exposure throughout your life
- Heavy drinker
- Previous exposure to human papilloma virus
Know the Signs of Oral Cancer
Early signs of oral cancer are easily missed. Report the following to your dentist or doctor:
- Swollen or thickened areas inside your mouth
- An unusual bump, lump, or rough spot
- Crusty skin around your lips
- Soft red, white, or multi-colored patches in your mouth
- Mouth or tongue sores that never heal
- Unexplained oral bleeding
Don’t Overlook Oral Cancer Symptoms
Some oral cancer tongue and mouth symptoms may be due to harmless causes, but it’s best to let your dentist know about them. Take note of any of the following:
- Numb or painful areas inside your mouth
- Chronic, unexplained sore throat
- Feeling like something is stuck or trapped in your throat
- Difficulty swallowing, biting, or chewing
- Trouble moving your mouth or tongue
- Voice changes
- Ear or jaw pain
- Changes in how your dentures feel
Understanding the Oral Cancer Stages
Oral cancer is classified into stages. Stages I and II involve small lesions that are less than two centimeters in size and remain localized. If your cancer has progressed to stage III or IV, the growth is larger and cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other tissues. Treatment for later stages is more aggressive.
What Does an Oral Cancer Screening Cost?
Oral cancer screening usually costs nothing, and it can save your life. Your dentist can perform a cancer screening at your next dental exam. Our dentists perform oral cancer screenings at no extra cost during your general exam. To set up your next appointment, give us a call today.
How Is Oral Cancer Detected?
Detection starts with a careful visual and manual exam to look for suspicious skin lesions and bumps or lumps inside the mouth. Your dentist may also employ modern oral cancer detection devices like powerful lights or special dyes that help differentiate normal tissues from diseased ones. If your dentist finds something suspicious, a biopsy can determine if it’s cancer.
Oral Cancer Survival Rate
Oral and tongue cancer survival rates are closely related to the stage and type of tumor that is present. Overall, the five-year survival rate is 60 percent, but every patient’s disease is unique. Our dentists work hard to identify cancer when it’s in its earliest and most curable stages. Contact us to learn more.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
Most oral cancer treatment strategies involve some combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If you have mouth cancer, your treatment will depend on many factors such as your age, general health, and the stage of your cancer. The best outcomes occur when the disease is detected early, so be sure to obtain oral cancer screening in Munster by contacting our clinic today and scheduling your next dental exam.