Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Cancer Screening
At VC Dental your health is our number one priority, and as part of our comprehensive examinations we perform oral cancer screening. Throughout your ongoing care, any soft tissue changes are reviewed on a regular basis. Oral cancer examinations are necessary, routine and potentially lifesaving.
Did you know?
- Early detection of Oral Cancer gives you a 90% chance of survival.
- The early stages of Oral Cancer can look similar to a mouth ulcer.
- Over 25% of Oral Cancer sufferers are non-smokers.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease of the cells in the body. It occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrollable way. These abnormal cells can invade or cause damage to the surrounding tissue, or spread to other parts of the body, causing more damage.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is also called mouth cancer. It is a cancer that can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, cheeks, palate (roof of the mouth), under the tongue, lips, sinuses and pharynx (throat).
What causes oral cancer?
The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is still unknown. It is thought that something alters or damages certain genes in the cell, causing it to become abnormal and start multiplying.
Some people develop oral cancer for no apparent reason – it can affect anyone and there is no set list as to what will or won’t cause it. There are, however, certain risk factors that increase the chance of oral cancer developing. These include:
- Smoking. There is a much higher incidence of oral cancer in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Excessive or frequent consumption of alcohol.
- Chewing tobacco.
- The Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection.
- Extended sun exposure to the area around your mouth, including your lips, without the use of a broad spectrum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunscreen.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
The most common symptoms of oral cancer are an ulcer or sore in the mouth that does not heal, and pain in the mouth that does not go away.
In many cases, changes in the mouth are seen before the cancer develops. This means that early treatment of these changes can help prevent a cancer developing.
Symptoms can include:
- A sore or ulcer that does not heal and/or bleeds easily.
- A blood blister that does not heal
- White or red patches anywhere in the mouth (leukoplakia and erythroplakia).
- A thick or hard lump on the lip, tongue or in the mouth or throat, what may or may not be painful.
- Unusual bleeding or numbness anywhere in the mouth.
- Pain when chewing or swallowing.
- A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
All of these symptoms can be due to other conditions so if you are displaying any it does not necessarily mean you have oral cancer. If you are concerned please contact us, or an alternative healthcare professional, so that proper tests can be performed to confirm a diagnosis.
Remember, early diagnosis leads to early treatment which can prevent a cancer developing; so be proactive.
For more information you can view the Oral Cancer Fact sheets below, provided by the Australian Dental Association:
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