Oral Cancer Screening
This year, over 50 thousand people will get a diagnosis of oral cancer. Of these numbers, nearly 10 thousand of them will tragically perish, leaving behind family and loved ones who had cared deeply for them. Oral cancer is a highly devastating disease, and by the time it is detected in most patients, the prognosis is poor. Of those who get their diagnosis this year, only half of them will be alive five years from now.
If caught early, oral cancer is often treatable, and the outcome for those diagnosed with it is significantly better. The problem is that many of the symptoms of oral cancer can be subtle and hard to detect on your own, which is why we firmly believe that regular oral cancer screenings with us here at Sharokina Eshaghi, DMD can save your life.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
It is a common misconception that only smokers get oral cancer. Twenty-five percent of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer never used tobacco in their life. Risk factors for oral cancer include gender (with men more likely than women to get it), age (older people), diet, lifestyle, and yes, use of alcohol and tobacco products.
Signs of oral cancer include any white or scaly patches in your mouth, any open or red sores that do not seem to want to heal, any bumps or masses that have formed in your mouth or throat, and pain in your mouth. However, please know that not all oral cancers will have symptoms that you can detect yourself, which is why it is so vital that we check for you.
An oral cancer screening is an important part of your dental checkup. During the screening, we will start by taking your medical history and ask you if you have any spots or areas of concern. After we take your medical history, we will give you a visual exam. We will thoroughly assess the inside of your mouth to look for anything of concern. We will also palpitate (gently press) your neck and throat to see if there are any masses or swellings. We will ask you if you have had any difficulty swallowing or eating, as well, as this can be a sign of oral cancer.
If we do detect anything of concern, please do not panic. Just because we found something suspicious does not automatically mean that you have cancer. We will have you check back with us in a week or two for a follow-up appointment to determine if the suspicious area has changed in appearance or shape at all. We may also take a sample of the area and send it off to our lab for a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. If we do determine that you do have oral cancer, we can then start treatment immediately.
We Can Help!
Do not let fear of coming to see us, or a busy schedule, prevent you from getting a critical and potentially lifesaving oral cancer screening. We advise that all of our patients return to our office every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning, including an oral cancer screening. To learn more about oral cancer and how we can help you detect it, or to set your appointment with us here at Sharokina Eshaghi, DMD, please give us a call today at (209) 248-0100.