Oral Cancer Screening in Novi Michigan
Most people are surprised to learn that more than 43,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014 with about 7,600 deaths. Each year, oral cancer kills more people in the U.S. than other more widely known forms of cancer, including skin cancer (malignant melanoma), lymphatic cancer (lymphoma), thyroid, and cervical cancer. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often discovered too late resulting in disfiguring effects for the patient.
However, when caught early, oral cancer is one of the most curable cancers. That is why Goldstein Dental Group offers an oral cancer screening exam. Screening at-risk patients for oral cancer and pre-cancerous lesions helps ensure early detection, diagnosis, and treatment and drastically improves oral cancer survival rates.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Certain factors increase patients’ chances of developing oral cancer:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Excessive sun exposure
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, etc.)
Though these factors increase chances of developing oral cancer, patients who do not fall under any of these categories can still develop oral cancer.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Although oral cancer and pre-cancerous lesions can develop without expressing any early signs, some patients might experience symptoms including:
- Persistent sores
- Lip or mouth pain
- Red or white spots or other discoloration
- Rough patches or eroded areas
- Change in bite
- Difficulty with oral motor skills (chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue)
We highly recommend that patients who experience any of these symptoms, notice any changes in the feel or appearance of their lips or mouths, or who fall into any of the risk factor categories schedule regular oral cancer screenings.
Oral Cancer Screening – What to Expect
During an oral cancer screening appointment, our dentist will visually inspect and palpate your jaw, mouth, and neck tissues, feeling for any lumps, irregularities, or tender spots. We use VisiLite® and VELscope® to more efficiently and accurately detect abnormal tissue in the oral cavity. With the VisiLite®, patients rinse with a special solution. The dentist or hygienist then shines a proprietary light over tissue. Normal tissue will appear dark and abnormal tissue will look white. VELscope® is a wireless, handheld scope that uses natural tissue fluorescence visualization to help dentists see oral mucosal abnormalities that might otherwise have been overlooked.
If our dentist detects any abnormalities, we will then recommend appropriate follow up procedures such as re-evaluation to monitor changes, biopsies, or a referral to an oral cancer specialist.
For more information regarding oral cancer screenings and oral cancer, please feel free to contact our office directly.