Oral Cancer Screening
Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we're also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
In 2015, over 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. That is a little over 100 new cases each day in the US. And the rate is continuing to increase. Other names for oral cancer include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, and tonsil cancer.
In the past, oral cancer was believed to be associated mostly with tobacco use.
This is no longer the case. In fact, in people younger than50 years old, HPV is now belived to be the main causitive agent. Because the risk factors now include tobacco, alcohol, and/or exposure to HPV-16, nearly every adult in the US is at risk for developing oral cancer.
At New England Dental Care, our dentists have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
A lump, thickening, or rough spot
Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Furthermore, if you have a lump, bump, crack, ulcer, spot or other area of concern in/on your mouth, lips, tongue, palate, gums, cheek, or throat, we ask that you call us immediately, so that we can see you for an additional exam.
Even if you are not a patient of New England Dental Care, if you have a concern, please call us at 413-285-7283 and we will find time to take a look and discuss your concern.