Oral Cancer Screening Gig Harbor
Oral Cancer Screening
We not only care about your oral health, we also care about overall health as well. As part of your examination, we will perform an oral cancer screening to check for signs of oral cancer.
Early detection of oral cancer is essential to successfully treating it. Oral cancer occurs as a result of abnormal cell growth in your oral tissues, such as the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. Individuals older than age 45 are more at risk. Signs and symptoms include:
- White or red spots in your oral tissues
- Bleeding or numbness
- Lumps, texture or color changes in your mouth
- Sores or patches that never heal
- Swallowing difficulties
- Changes in taste
Aside from age, other risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Frequent exposure to the sun
- Poor eating habits
- Gender - males are more at risk
Our dental professionals can easily and effectively screen for oral cancer by checking for abnormalities in your mouth and throat tissues. If we detect any areas of concern, we can perform a 'brush test', which collects cells from the suspect area and send these to a lab for testing and analysis. If the results come back positive, the area may have to be treated.
Treatment can involve a biopsy, which involves further examination (x-rays, CT scans or MRIs) and possibly surgery. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be required to remove the tumor.
Ways to reduce risk of oral cancer
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Stop all tobacco use
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Minimize your sun exposure and wear sun protection on your lips
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Examine your mouth and talk to your dentist about an oral screening.