Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is any cancer that develops within the mouth or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth. It can also affect the salivary glands, tonsils, and the part of the throat behind the mouth.
During an oral cancer screening at Daydream Family Dentistry, our dentist in Weslaco, TX, will look for any abnormalities in your mouth and throat. We will check your lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, and other soft tissues for unusual bumps, lumps, or sores. We will also examine your throat and neck for any signs of swelling or other irregularities. If we find anything suspicious, we may recommend further testing.
Causes of Oral Cancer
- Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco products significantly increases the risk of oral cancer. The harmful chemicals in tobacco can damage the cells in the mouth and throat over time.
- Excessive alcohol consumption is another prominent risk factor for oral cancer. When combined with tobacco use, the risk is even greater.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of lip cancer, particularly for individuals who work outdoors or engage in outdoor activities without adequate sun protection.
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential vitamins and antioxidants, may contribute to the development of oral cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
- One of the most common early signs of oral cancer is the presence of mouth sores that do not heal within two weeks. These sores may be painless or cause discomfort.
- Red or white patches in the mouth or lips that do not resolve can indicate oral cancer. These patches may feel rough or thick.
- Unexplained swelling, lumps, or thickening in the mouth, throat, or neck can signal the presence of oral cancer. These areas may or may not be painful.
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking, often accompanied by a sensation of something being caught in the throat, should be a cause for concern.
The Benefits of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings in Weslaco, TX, offer many benefits that underscore their crucial role in safeguarding your oral and overall health. Firstly, oral cancer screenings enable early detection, the cornerstone of successful treatment, by identifying potential abnormalities in their initial stages when intervention is most effective. This leads to less invasive and less aggressive treatment options, minimizing the physical and emotional toll on patients.
Additionally, oral cancer screenings provide an opportunity for risk assessment, empowering individuals to make informed lifestyle choices and reduce their susceptibility to oral cancer. The process is quick, non-invasive, and cost-effective. It is often integrated into routine dental check-ups and offers peace of mind and increased awareness about this often-overlooked disease.
Oral cancer screening is a straightforward yet crucial process that can save lives by detecting oral cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective. Visit Daydream Family Dentistry at 519 S Missouri Ave., Weslaco, TX 78596, or call (956) 968-6561 to learn more about the benefits of oral cancer screenings.