Oral Cancer Screenings in East Peoria, IL
Each year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, a serious disease that is potentially curable in its early stages. Our dentists can help detect cancers of the mouth at an early stage when treatment is more attainable and effective.
What Constitutes Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a malignant growth that forms within the mouth or upper throat. Tissues vulnerable to cancer include the inner lining of the cheeks and mouth, the tongue, the lips, and the gums. The cancer can originate inside the mouth or arise from the spread of cancer from somewhere else in the body. Risk factors include smoking, excessive drinking, sun exposure, and infection from the human papilloma virus. However, not all cases are linked to an obvious risk factor.
Six Signs of Oral Cancer
A sign of oral cancer is a cancer trait that your dentist or doctor can detect within your mouth visually or during a manual exam. They include the following:
- Unexplained swelling
- Tissue thickening or palpable masses
- Rough or eroded areas
- Unusual patches of skin or coloration
- Sores that don’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding
Eight Common Oral Cancer Symptoms
If you experience one or more of the following oral cancer tongue and mouth symptoms, report them to your dentist or doctor immediately:
- Mouth pain, tenderness, or numbness
- Persistent sore throat
- Foreign body sensation in the throat
- Problems chewing or swallowing normally
- Difficulties with tongue movement
- Unexplained hoarseness
- Unusual ear pain
- Bite changes or unusual denture-related discomfort
Understanding the Oral Cancer Stages
Oral cancer stages describe the size of a growth and its spread to adjacent or distant tissues. Stage I or II oral cancer describes a small tumor that hasn’t metastasized to other areas, while stage III or IV cancers may be larger or may have spread to the lymph nodes or surrounding tissues. A cancer’s stage dictates treatment protocol and affects overall survival rate.
How Can I Obtain a Free Oral Cancer Screening?
Screening for oral cancer is usually included in the cost of a dental checkup. If you are experiencing symptoms, or have a history of mouth cancer in your family, your dentist can help to put your mind at ease. All of our experienced dentists conduct screenings for mouth cancer during routine dental exams. To schedule yours, contact our office today.
How Does My Dentist Detect Oral Cancer?
Dentists detect oral cancer through visual and manual examinations and the use of detection devices such as special lights and dyes that reveal abnormal tissues. If your dentist finds a suspicious lesion, a brush biopsy or scalpel biopsy may be needed to rule out cancer.
Oral Cancer Survival Rate
The five-year survival rate of oral cancer for all patients is 60 percent. However, the stage at which a cancer is found, and many other health factors affect prognosis. Our dentists can detect early cancers when the chances of a successful cure and recovery are at their highest.
Treating Oral Cancer
Oral cancer treatment usually involves surgery to remove affected tissues and chemotherapy or radiation to kill leftover cancer cells. When treatment is started early, many oral cancer patients can be cured. To protect your general and dental health, call us to schedule your oral cancer screening in East Peoria today.