Along with being experts in tooth care, dentists are also experts in caring for the structures, soft tissues, and diseases affecting the head and neck. During their routine examinations at Beach City Dental, our dentists thoroughly examine the mouth, head, and neck to ensure their health. They also do oral cancer screenings to look for signs of this disease.
Why Do Dentists Screen for Oral Cancer?
Although oral cancer makes up only three percent of cancer cases diagnosed each year, the earlier it’s detected, the better a patient’s outcome. After diagnosing it in stage one, the five-year survival rate is 84 percent. However, if caught in the later stages, the survival rate drops to around 45 percent if the cancer is in stage IV.
What Happens During a Screening?
When our dentists near you do a screening for oral cancer, they carefully do both a physical and visual examination. They look for signs of cancer, which includes:
- Red or white mouth lesions
- A lump, sore, or thick patch of tissue on a lip, in the throat or mouth
- Swelling of the jaw
- Ear pain
- Tongue or other areas of the mouth that has numbness
- Having trouble moving the tongue or jaw
They will also probe the mouth or run their gloved fingers along the side and the back of the neck, looking for lumps. During oral cancer screenings near you, our dentists in Huntington Beach, CA will also look at the back of the tongue for lesions, which can indicate either oral or throat cancer.
Who is Susceptible to Oral Cancer?
People can be more susceptible than others to certain diseases, including cancer. Oral cancer affects more men than it does woman, probably because of some of its causes, which include:
- Heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- People 40 and over are at greater risk for it
If you have a sore throat that won’t go away or have difficulty swallowing, contact our dentists at Beach City Dental for oral cancer screenings in Huntington Beach, CA. An early diagnosis of this disease can help save your life.