Oral Cancer Screenings in Peoria, IL
Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects thousands of people every year. Like most cancers, when it is caught in its earliest stages, it can often be cured. You can beat the odds by seeing your dentist regularly.
Oral Cancer Basics
Oral cancer is a malignancy that forms in tissues located within the oral cavity, including the inner cheek, lips, gums, and tongue. The cancer can originate in these tissues or spread to them from somewhere else. If you’re a smoker, heavy drinker, or sun worshiper, you may be at increased risk. Other risk factors include advanced age and exposure to the human papilloma virus.
Common Signs of Oral Cancer
The following signs of oral cancer may be visible inside your mouth:
- Swelling or other changes
- Lumps or coarse-textured skin
- Smooth red or white patches
- Persistent sores that won’t heal
- Unusual bleeding
Other Oral Cancer Symptoms
Other oral cancer tongue, lip, and mouth symptoms include the following:
- Mouth pain
- Numbness or unusual sensations
- Unexplained sore throat
- Sensation of a foreign object in your throat
- Difficulty chewing, talking, or swallowing
- Problems using your tongue or moving your lips
- Voice changes
- Ear pain
- New or worsening bite or denture problems
What Are the Oral Cancer Stages?
Oral cancer can be classified by stages to help determine how large the lesion is and how far it has spread. If you have stage I or stage II oral cancer, your lesion is likely relatively small and remains localized. Stages III and IV involve larger lesions that may have spread into your lymph nodes or other parts of your body. Your doctor can determine the stage and prognosis of your cancer from a biopsy.
Is the Oral Cancer Screening Process Expensive?
Unlike some forms of cancer testing, oral cancer screening is usually free. It’s often an automatic addition to your routine dental exam. If you have an unusually high risk of oral cancer, you may want to see your dentist more often. All of our experienced dentists perform cancer screening as part of your routine dental examination. Call us today to schedule your next appointment.
How Is Oral Cancer Detected?
Detecting oral cancer can be accomplished in several ways. Your dentist will usually start with a visual evaluation of your mouth and a manual exam to feel for lumps or thickened areas of tissue. He or she may also use oral cancer detection tools such as special lighted instruments or dyes that detect abnormal tissue. If an area looks suspicious, your dentist may also perform a brush test or a biopsy to confirm or rule out malignancy.
What Is the Oral Cancer Survival Rate?
The overall oral cancer survival rate is 60 percent, but every case is different, and prognosis depends on a wide variety of factors. Unfortunately, many cases are in the advanced stages by the time they’re detected. Since your dentist can identify cancer at an earlier stage when it is most treatable and curable, it’s important to keep your dental appointments, even if you don’t have any alarming symptoms.
How Is Oral Cancer Treated?
Oral cancer treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. The later oral cancer is detected, the more intensive and aggressive the treatment becomes. To protect your health, schedule your oral cancer screening in Peoria today. Our compassionate and thorough dental professionals can provide peace of mind and a healthier smile.