Oral cancer can affect adults of any and all ages. Some patients are more at risk of developing oral cancer, like those who smoke or use chewing tobacco. However, we often recommend an annual oral cancer screening as a way to keep up on your oral health. With early detection, treatment is both easier and more effective.
Lifestyle factors like smoking and chewing tobacco can increase the risks of developing oral cancer. Even if you've quit smoking years ago, it is still important that annual screenings be done. The screening itself takes just minutes and can be helpful in preventing future oral health problems. Even if you're not a smoker or use other types of tobacco, we recommend having a screening done regularly.
If you're a smoker or use other tobacco-related products, we recommend coming in for routine screenings. If cancer runs in your family, it's important to consider coming in to get checked. Most adults are good candidates for these screenings. The benefits of having a screening done far outweigh the few minutes it takes to have it performed in our office.
First, the doctor will perform a dental examination using VELscope technology. The device projects a blue light into the mouth. We are looking for unusual lesions, bumps and plaque-like film that could be a sign of oral cancer, which are easier to notice because they appear darker under the specialized light. If we detect anything unusual, we will recommend that a biopsy be done to find out if the area is benign or cancerous. Keep in mind that the majority of cancer screenings come out negative, but it is still important to have them done so that we can catch a problem early on, if it's there.
If you'd like to schedule an appointment to have an oral cancer screening done, call Kirkwood Dentistry so that one of our friendly team members can help you further.