Oral Cancer Screenings in Bloomington, IL
A diagnosis of oral cancer is something that no one wants to face. However, when detected early, this disease can be effectively treated and even cured. Your dentist can play a vital role in early detection through oral cancer awareness and routine screening.
Oral Cancer: What You Need to Know
Oral cancer is a collection of malignant cells that form a tumor or lesion inside your mouth. Cancer may occur on your gums, lips, palate, cheek lining, or tongue. It may originate inside the mouth or be a result of cancer that has spread from a nearby location. Smokers and tobacco users, heavy drinkers, and men over the age of 50 are more likely to develop oral cancers. The disease is also linked to excess sun exposure, infections originating from the human papilloma virus, and genetic tendencies.
Early and Visible Signs of Oral Cancer
- Areas of swollen or thickened oral tissue
- Rough areas or palpable masses within the mouth
- Crusty or eroded skin or mucus membranes
- Unusual patches inside the mouth
- Longstanding mouth sores
- Bleeding that can’t be explained
Oral Cancer Symptoms That You Shouldn’t Ignore
If you experience any of the following oral cancer tongue or mouth symptoms, consult your dentist or doctor for advice:
- Areas in your mouth that feel tender or numb
- A sore throat not caused by a cold, dry air, or sinus problems
- A feeling that something is stuck in your throat
- Difficulty moving your tongue or problems chewing and swallowing
- Changes in how your voice sounds
- Unexplained pain in one or both ears
- Changes in how your teeth meet together
- Sudden or unexplained denture problems
The Four Oral Cancer Stages Explained
An oral cancer stage is used to classify the size of an oral cancer lesion and whether or not it has spread to other areas. If you have stage I or II cancer, your lesion is small and has not invaded other tissues. Stage III or IV cancers have either grown larger than 2 centimeters, or have spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites. Treatment for cancer in later stages is generally more invasive and less effective.
How Much Will Oral Cancer Screening Cost?
Our dentists provide oral cancer screening at no additional cost during your routine dental checkup. To schedule an exam today, contact our office.
Oral Cancer Detection Methods and Devices
During an oral cancer screening, a visual and manual inspection is conducted first, which may reveal masses or areas that require further testing. Your dentist may also use special lights, dyes that help detect diseased tissues, or brush biopsies to test for abnormal cells. A traditional biopsy may be required if your dentist finds a suspicious lesion.
Surviving Oral Cancer
The five-year oral cancer survival rate is about 60 percent, but the prognosis for this disease varies widely depending on its stage, rate of metastases, and location. Our dental providers can often find and diagnose mouth cancers before they become life-threatening.
Oral Cancer Treatment Strategies
Treatments for oral cancer usually combine the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue with a course of radiation or chemotherapy to eliminate leftover cancer cells.
If you’re worried about getting oral cancer, our dentists can help put your mind at ease. Contact us today to schedule your professional dental exam and oral cancer screening in Bloomington.