Oral Cancer Screening – Arlington Heights, IL
A Quick, Painless, and Potentially Life-Saving Process
Did you know that roughly one person in the United States dies each hour due to oral cancer? Tens of thousands of people are diagnosed each year with this devastating illness, but sadly, many individuals do not get screened for it as often as they should. Delays in diagnosis often lead to more complicate treatment and lower survival rates. As your dentist in Arlington Heights, we care about your overall well-being and long-term health. That is why we offer routine oral cancer screenings for our patients.
The Facts About Oral Cancer
The term “oral cancer” is a broad descriptor for cancers that occur either in the oral cavity or in the middle region of the throat. Some of the areas it may affect include: lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, and tonsils.
It’s a common misconception that only individuals who smoke or chew tobacco are at risk of developing oral cancer. While it is true that tobacco use is a major risk factor, there are quite a few other circumstances that can increase a person’s odds of developing oral cancer. For example, heavy drinkers and people who have spent a lot of time in the sun are also more likely to have to face this disease.
Note as well that in recent years, more and more younger people have been diagnosed with oral cancer. This troubling trend is due in part to the prevalence of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted disease. HPV does not always present obvious symptoms, so many people may not even realize that they have it.
The bottom line is that everyone, regardless of their age or lifestyle choices, should be diligent about undergoing regular oral cancer screenings. Experts recommend that all adults get screened at least once a year.
The Screening Process
The screening process is quick, painless, and noninvasive. Your dentist or your hygienist will simply perform a visual and tactile examination of your oral cavity and the surrounding structures. Some of the warning signs that we look for include:
- Unusual swelling or lumps in the lips, cheeks, throat, or other oral tissues
- Loose teeth or other seemingly unexplained dental problems
- Patches of red or white discoloration
- Unusual sores
It’s also vital that you let us know if you have noticed any potential signs of oral cancer, such as unexplained weight loss, changes to your voice, or painful areas in and around your mouth.
If we suspect that you have oral cancer, we will recommend that you visit your family doctor or another medical professional in order to undergo further testing. If a biopsy confirms that you do have oral cancer, you can begin exploring your treatment options. Sometimes, surgery is all that is needed to remove the cancer. In other cases, chemotherapy and radiation are also necessary.
When was the last time you got screened for oral cancer? If it has been more than a year, contact us today to schedule your next appointment.