More than 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Finding oral cancer early increases your chances of survival. Mark Curtis, DDS, MPH, and his experienced team at Allegra Family Dentistry in Mesa, Arizona, provide oral cancer screenings to help catch it early so you get the best possible outcomes. To schedule an oral exam or an oral cancer screening, call the office today or book an appointment online.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer refers to the type of cancer that affects various parts of your mouth, such as your lips, cheeks, tongue, soft and hard palate, or throat. If not found early, this type of cancer can be life-threatening. Dr. Curtis and his team at Allegra Family Dentistry offer oral cancer screenings to identify changes in your tissue early and improve your chances of a full remission.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Symptoms of oral cancer vary and you may dismiss your symptoms thinking they’re caused by an unrelated health issue, such as a cold. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Appearance of thick, swollen bumps or rough patches in your mouth
- White, velvety patches of skin in your mouth
- Sores on your face or neck that don’t heal
- Numbness in various parts of your mouth or neck
- Pain in various parts of your mouth or neck
- Ear pain
- Unexpected bleeding in your mouth
- Feeling as though you have something caught in the back of your throat
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Allegra Family Dentistry for an oral cancer screening.
What is an oral cancer screening?
An oral cancer screening is a tool Dr. Curtis uses to evaluate the structures in your mouth and assess for cancerous or precancerous tissue. Dr. Curtis and his team at Allegra Family Dentistry perform an oral cancer screening during your routine oral exam.
While everyone benefits from an oral cancer screening, certain groups of people are at greater risk of oral cancer and should be screened regularly, including:
- People who use tobacco in any form (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff)
- Heavy drinkers
- People who spend a lot of time out in the sun, currently or in the past
- A family history of oral cancer
You should also get screened if you have a history of human papillomavirus (HPV). Certain strains of HPV increase your risk of oral cancer.
What can I expect during an oral cancer screening?
During your oral cancer screening, Dr. Curtis visually evaluates your mouth, looking for changes in tissue structure. Using a gloved hand, he also feels the tissue in your mouth to look for abnormalities in the structure or unexpected lumps. If Dr. Curtis finds anything suspicious, he may recommend a biopsy of the tissue so he can have it tested for cellular changes to rule out or confirm cancerous changes.
An oral cancer screening is a simple and painless test that can save your life. To schedule your screening, call Allegra Family Dentistry today or book an appointment online.