Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is not something that should be taken lightheartedly. In fact, oral cancer is a serious condition that needs to be treated right away or it can have devastating effects on your overall health. Oral cancer is best described as cancer that developed in any area of your mouth or near your mouth such as the throat. If you have been diagnosed in Brentwood, CA with oral cancer, this means that you have active cancer cells within your mouth. These cells WILL cause damage and spread throughout your mouth and body, so it is vital to your health that you have regular dental checkups at Fairview Dental.

When you come into our Brentwood office, Dr. Thuc Luu will look over your mouth and determine if you have any signs of oral cancer. Since oral cancer can appear on the lips, cheeks, throat, tongue, or anywhere else in your mouth, a thorough exam is required on a regular basis. If oral cancer is not diagnosed quickly and treated in a timely manner, it is fatal.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

While some cancers may not have any signs of symptoms associated with them, oral cancer DOES have symptoms, which would signal that there is a problem. You should keep an eye out for these warning signs and alert Dr. Luu if you have any of them. Some of the most common oral cancer symptoms include:

• Difficulty chewing and swallowing your food
• Bleeding inside of the mouth
• Thickening and swelling of the lips and gums
• Weight loss
• Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in your face, neck, or mouth
• Speckled, velvety white, or red patches inside of your mouth
• Chronic sore throat
• Recurring sores on your neck, face, and mouth
• Changes in the way you speak, eat, and how your dentures fit

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

If you are worried about oral cancer, regular dental cleanings and checkups can help ease your mind. Not everyone will develop oral cancer and some people are more at risk than others. If you think that you may be at risk or if you have been determined to be at risk, Dr. Lu may request that you come in more frequently for dental checkups.

There are some factors to keep in mind that may influence your chances of developing oral cancer and there are some lifestyle choices that lend themselves to creating a higher risk of the disease.

According to the American Cancer society, men are as much as twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. In addition, men who are over age 50 are more at risk.

Some of the risk factors for developing oral cancer include:

• Family history of cancer
• Using smokeless tobacco products
• Smoking pipes, cigarettes, and cigars
• Excessive exposure to the sun
• Consumption of large amounts of alcohol
• STDs including HPV

Smoking is one of the risk factors for oral cancer, but about 25 percent of patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer have never smoked a cigarette. This means that oral cancer is NOT just present in those patients who do smoke.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Oral Cancer

If you think you may have oral cancer, you will need to receive a cancer diagnosis. If oral cancer is caught in the early stages, you have a good chance of survival, however, with each passing stage, your chances of survival diminish. For example, the survival rate one year after diagnosis is 81 percent while a five-year survival rate is only about 56 percent.

When you come into our Brentwood, CA office, Dr. Luu will perform a thorough exam to check for oral cancer. During this time, Dr. Luu will check to see if there are any lumps and took for any tissues in your mouth that may be discolored or appear abnormal. At this time, your mouth, tongue, cheeks, neck, and face will be examined.

If Dr. Luu feels that there is an area of concern, he will request that a biopsy is performed.

During the biopsy, a piece of tissue will be taken from the area and then sent off to a lab to be analyzed. If it is determined that the tissue is cancerous, it will be removed from your mouth.

It is vital that you have oral cancer diagnosed as quickly as possible, so that it can be handled. A quick diagnosis leads to a better chance of survival.

If you have received an oral cancer diagnosis, treatment occurs in a couple of different ways. Depending on what stage the cancer is in, you may need to undergo surgery or chemotherapy to eliminate the cancer cells. Other treatment options include medication and radiation.

You Should Perform a Self-Exam at Home

A self-exam can help you determine if you need to come into Fairview Dental for an oral cancer screening. To perform an exam, you will need to take a look at your lips and gums and then proceed to feel them. You want to then tilt your head backwards and look at the roof of your mouth for any problems or signs of problems. You should feel the roof of your mouth with your fingers and determine if the skin is uneven at all.

You should then check your tongue, cheeks, and back of your mouth for any discolored or inflamed skin. Any sores in these areas should be noted as well. Once you have check your mouth, you should then check to see if your lymph nodes are swollen.

If you do happen to notice any issues, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Luu immediately.

/ Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening

If you believe you may have cancer in your mouth or you would like to have a screening performed, now is the time to call Fairview Dental. Our Brentwood office is equipped to quickly diagnose and treat oral cancer at any stage. It is important for you to have regular screenings conducted. Call our office now to schedule your appointment with Dr. Luu.