Unless you have a family history of cancer, it can be easy to think of cancer as something that happens to someone else. Unfortunately, oral cancer is not uncommon. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 43,000 people or more will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Fortunately, with early diagnosis and prompt treatment, your prognosis can be quite good.
The Basics of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is becoming more common all the time. While treatment is generally quite effective, survival continues to hover around 50%. Why? It all comes down to late-stage diagnosis. Most cases can be effectively treated, and the lowered survival rate can mostly be attributed to the large percentage of cases that are not diagnosed until it is too late. Early detection can really make a difference, which is why Drs. Roy and Adam Eskow at Bethesda Dental Implant Center perform an oral cancer screening as part of their routine exams.
Signs and Symptoms
In general, oral cancer is painless and the lumps and lesions are hidden under the tongue, making this cancer quite hard to detect. In some cases, however, early symptoms may include:
- Hoarseness, sore mouth or throat, and difficulty swallowing
- Sore red or white patch that fails to heal
- Sores in the mouth lasting longer than two weeks
- Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
How the Screening Works
An oral cancer screening is entirely visual; your dentist may have been making routine checks without you even noticing. Drs. Eskow will make a thorough visual inspection of the inside of your mouth, aided by a special light that highlights abnormal cells. Signs of cancer can sometimes manifest in the face and lips, so Drs. Eskow will also make a visual inspection of these areas. Make sure to tell your dentist if you have had HPV, have a family history of oral cancer, or use tobacco products – these are all risk factors of oral cancer, and we will take extra care in performing your exam.
Schedule a Consultation
Are you concerned about oral cancer or interested in a quick and pain-free screening? We offer regular oral cancer screenings with every routine checkup. To schedule an appointment to screen for oral cancer, contact Bethesda Dental Implant Center in Bethesda, MD and Washington DC at (301) 200-5222 (Bethesda) or (202) 644-9679 (Washington DC).