Screening for oral or mouth cancer is one of the most effective ways to catch this deadly disease in the earliest and most treatable stages. Many general dentists offer oral screenings as part of their preventive care for their patients. If any possible signs of oral cancer are found, further testing and evaluation are needed to determine whether there are cancer cells in the oral tissue. At Stafford Oral Surgery & Specialists, we offer oral pathology services to further evaluate signs of mouth cancer.
Oral cancer is diagnosed in almost 50,000 people each year in the U.S., with an estimated 9,000+ individuals losing their life annually to this disease. However, when detected and treated in the early stages, mouth cancer is curable. Dentists perform screenings that can detect changes in the oral tissue that may be possible cancerous lesions or tumors in their early stages. Local dentists refer their patients to us for our pathology and oral surgery services. Our oral surgeons can perform a biopsy of the tissue to determine if cancer cells are present, enabling treatment to begin as soon as possible if there is mouth cancer.
Signs of Mouth or Oral Cancer
As part of your routine preventive care, you should have an oral cancer screening during checkups with your dentist. However, you should also be aware of possible signs of oral cancer that you can observe on your own and seek further evaluation from our pathology team. Signs to look for during self-exams include:
- Red or white tissue/spots
- Sores that do not heal within two weeks
- Lumps on the gums, tongue or throat
- Hoarseness that does not go away
- Difficulty swallowing
Oral biopsy procedures are carefully performed at our office for patient safety and comfort. Most biopsies can be performed quickly without discomfort. Contact our office today to schedule a biopsy if your dentist referred you or you are concerned about a possible sign of oral cancer. We accept many insurance plans that cover this procedure.