Are you a smoker? Over the age of 40? Diagnosed with HPV? If so, you may be at increased risk for oral cancer.
While oral cancer is also more common among men, heavy drinkers, and unhealthy eaters, it can still develop in almost anyone. That means even the healthiest among us should keep up with regular oral cancer screenings.
Here at O'Neill Family Dentistry in Columbia, SC, your dentist, Dr. Kris O'Neill, offers oral cancer screenings that are quick, painless, and accurate, allowing you to feel at ease during the screening and confident in your results.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can develop in both the throat and mouth, and can develop symptoms such as bleeding patches, lumps, red/white spots, and numbness or pain when eating. Additional signs include loosening teeth, a hoarse voice, jaw swelling, mouth ulcers, sores, and/or a swollen jaw.
Why is an oral cancer screening so important?
Oral cancer patients who are diagnosed early have a far greater survival rate than those whose cancer is discovered in later stages. If a screening at our Columbia, SC, office comes back with positive results, our dentist can develop an appropriate treatment plan to address your specific case.
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
Your dentist will use a small apparatus with an angled examination mirror to check all areas of your mouth, including the palate, tongue, and pharynx. We will also look for discolorations, sores, protrusions, or other abnormalities. If an issue is found, we will send a tissue sample to a lab for further diagnosis. Your dentist may also feel your neck for any unusual lumps.
Your screening should be fairly quick, and can generally be performed during your regular checkup and dental exam.
Concerned? Give us a call
If you haven't undergone an oral cancer screening before, or are due for one of these life-saving examinations, make an appointment here at O'Neill Family Dentistry in Columbia, SC, by dialing (803) 988-1070.