Oral Cancer Screenings in Rogersville
Did you know oral cancer claims more lives each year than cervical cancer or melanoma (skin cancer)? Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, claiming one life every hour in the US alone. Tellingly, less than 50% of those diagnosed this year will go on to live an additional five years. This is a telling statistic because the Oral Cancer Foundation indicated that early diagnosis was the best way to reduce the number of annual deaths related to oral cancer. Most patients are diagnosed in the latest stages of oral cancer making treatment and recovery difficult or impossible. Thus, the high number of patients lost within the first five years. At Rogersville Family Dentistry, we are passionate about helping patients maintain optimal oral and overall health – for their whole, natural lifetimes. That’s why oral cancer screenings are part of every six month checkup at our office. Contact us to find out more or schedule an appointment with our Rogersville dentist and team today.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Many patients believe that they are not at risk for oral cancer unless they smoke or use other types of tobacco. While this certainly places patients at increased risk for oral cancer, it is only one of many high risk behaviors associated with oral cancer. Others include consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly, overexposure to sunlight, and contraction of human papilloma virus. Even more startling, more than 25% of those diagnosed do not engage in any of these high risk activities.
At Rogersville Family Dentistry, Dr. Timothy D. Gunnin will screen for oral cancer as part of every dental checkup, but don’t hesitate to contact us if you notice any of the following warning signs:
- Sores that bleed or don’t heal
- Changes in the color or texture of soft tissue (gums, cheek, tongue)
- Lumps, flat spots, or crusts in the soft tissue
- Discomfort, sensitivity, or numbing of any part of the mouth and face
- Chronic sore throat or hoarse voice
If we notice any of these warning signs or you bring them to our attention, we’ll run one of two tests to determine whether the area for concern is cancerous. Brush biopsies are completely pain free. As the name suggests, we simply brush a few cells away from the area that are then tested in a lab. If you have a more advanced potentially cancerous lump or lesion, we may recommend a scalpel biopsy. We numb the affected area, cut away a small amount of tissue, and suture the biopsy site if necessary. Once we’ve determined whether you’re suffering from oral cancer, we’ll work with you and an oncologist (cancer specialist) to begin a treatment plan to restore your whole bod health while maintaining optimal oral health.