Each year, about 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Fortunately, with early detection and treatment, it’s possible to reduce the risk of potentially serious issues. At Erin McLendon, DDS & Associates - family and cosmetic dentistry, the team of expert dentists offers oral cancer exams to people of all ages. If you’re concerned about your risk, make an appointment at the practice in San Antonio, Texas, by calling the office today or booking online.
Oral cancer is a disease that causes the cells in your mouth to divide uncontrollably and invade the surrounding tissues. It can occur anywhere in your mouth but is especially common in the throat, tongue, and lips. Routine screenings can help catch it early on when it’s easiest to treat.
Symptoms of oral cancer include:
If you have oral cancer, you might also experience significant weight loss or a chronic sore throat.
Anyone can experience oral cancer, but several factors may increase your risk. For example, men over the age of 50 are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women.
Other factors that increase the risk of oral cancer include using tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive exposure to the sun (especially as a child), and a family history of cancer. If you’re concerned about your risk, make an appointment with the team at Erin McLendon, DDS & Associates - family and cosmetic dentistry.
To diagnose oral cancer, your provider conducts an oral cancer screening exam. During the exam, they assess your mouth, throat, and neck for any lumps or irregular tissues. If they discover any abnormalities, they might order a biopsy. A biopsy is a tissue sample that’s sent to a laboratory for further analysis. Techs at the lab analyze it for cancerous or precancerous cells.
Treatment of oral cancer depends on the type, location, and severity. The team at Erin McLendon, DDS & Associates - family and cosmetic dentistry, usually removes cancerous growths with oral surgery.
Afterward, they refer patients to a cancer specialist for radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. These treatments are specifically designed to destroy cancerous cells.
The easiest way to prevent oral cancer is to stop using tobacco, drink alcohol in moderation, and practice good oral hygiene. In addition to brushing twice daily, it’s important to visit the team at least two times each year for an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning.
To receive an oral cancer screening, make an appointment at Erin McLendon, DDS & Associates - family and cosmetic dentistry, by calling the office today or scheduling online.