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What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

Family smiling Oral cancer probably isn't something you think about very often -- but if you knew the facts surrounding this disease, you would. For starters, it's not rare. Approximately 132 new individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer every day in the United States alone, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. The group estimates that one person dies per hour due to oral cancer in our country -- each and every day.

Visiting a dentist or specialist for routine screenings can improve the chances that if you do have oral cancer, you will receive an early diagnosis and have a much higher chance of successful treatment. Talk to the team at Piney Point to find out how frequently you should get an oral cancer screening based on your age and certain lifestyle factors. We are happy to provide oral cancer screenings, diagnosis, and treatment at Piney Point Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer includes of the cancers affecting the mouth and surrounding structures -- including the tongue, cheeks, lips, and throat. Tobacco use is a chief cause of oral cancer, but with the rise of the human papillomavirus (HPV), mouth cancers are affecting more young, otherwise healthy patients than ever before.

Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol consumption (especially combined with tobacco use)
  • HPV
  • Prolonged exposure to UV light
  • Family history of cancer
  • Older age

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening should usually be performed annually. It is a quick procedure that doesn’t cause any pain or require anything on your end. Simply be prepared to discuss your oral and overall health and any changes you may have noticed in your mouth lately. After this brief but thorough discussion, Dr. Koo or Dr. Weil will perform a visual and tactile examination of your mouth and oral structures. They are looking out for any of the warning signs of oral cancer, which include…

  • Lesions or sores that do not heal after two weeks
  • Discolored areas (white, pink, red) in the mouth
  • Lumps or bumps in or around the mouth
  • Rough patches
  • Asymmetries in the face or mouth
  • A change in the tone of voice
  • And other irregularities

What Next?

If a suspicious area is detected during the oral cancer screening, we will discuss your next steps in the very same appointment. Persistant lesions should be biopsied right away. For other warning signs, we may recommend you come back in a couple of weeks to see if the area has healed or changed. No matter what you need, you can feel confident knowing you have a capable team of experts on your side.

Get In Touch Today!

For oral cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, do not hesitate to get in touch with the oral surgeons at Piney Point Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Your life depends on it! Request a consultation with Dr. Koo or Dr. Weil today.