Oral cancer, which can include cancers of the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and many other oral structures, is one of the more common and dangerous types of cancer. Much like other oral and systemic health issues, it’s best addressed in its earliest stages, which offers the highest chances of successfully treating it. At our Mansfield, TX, dental office, we perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening during every one of your checkup and cleaning appointments. In addition to helping you avoid issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and more, we also help you stay ahead of your overall wellbeing by keeping a close eye on potential oral cancer signs.
The facts about oral cancer
While there is no direct known cause of oral cancer, it develops when certain anomalies cause DNA to produce excess cells. This can result in a number of early warning symptoms that may not be directly noticeable at first. When ignored or left undiagnosed, the rate of mortality for oral cancer is high, often reaching up to 80 percent. However, those rates are significantly lower for patients who detect their conditions early and seek an appropriate diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
How to find it early
The earliest signs of oral cancer don’t usually involve discomfort, which can make it easy to overlook or not notice them at all. Therefore, the best way to know if you have the signs is to perform a visual inspection of your oral tissues as often as possible. You can perform a self-exam at least once a month by standing in front of a well-lit mirror and looking for signs such as:
- Ulcers, lumps, and/or abnormal growths
- Bleeding sores, especially if they don’t heal
- Rough, red, irritated, and/or swollen patches of tissue
- White, dark, or otherwise discolored areas
- And more
During your professional your screening
Checking for these signs at home every month is an important way to ensure that you’re oral cancer-free. However, a professional screening during your regular checkup appointments will give us an opportunity to perform a thorough inspection. Professional screening significantly increases your risks of spotting hard-to-notice abnormalities, which boosts your chances of early detection, if oral cancer does develop.
Schedule an oral health exam today
Oral cancer can become a significant threat to your oral and overall health. With routine screening and early detection, you can more successfully mitigate the threat. For more information, schedule a consultation by calling our dentist’s office in Mansfield, TX, today at 817-473-6227.