Predicting who may be afflicted with oral cancer can be difficult. Although research and statistics have helped to identify some of the most common risk factors for oral cancer, there are still a significant number of victims who display none of these risk factors. On the other hand, some patients who display multiple risk factors may never develop the disease.
To complicate matters further, most forms of oral cancer can progress without any easily identifiable signs or symptoms. Many patients report no pain or swelling prior to their cancer diagnosis. Often, oral cancer can develop in places that are difficult or impossible to identify through self-examination alone. Typically, these cancers become established beneath the top layer of skin, invisible to the unaided eye until they have reached an advanced stage.
Fortunately, your dentist serving Downers Grove has recognized the challenges associated with oral cancer, while also realizing the importance and urgency of early detection. By making oral cancer screening available for all patients, your dentist has taken a step towards protecting your overall health. Since it is impossible to predict the next oral cancer victim, all teen and adult patients should be screened at least annually.
A visual and manual examination of your head, neck, face, neck, mouth, and lips is useful for identifying a wide array of abnormalities. Since many cancers are not visible under white light in the earliest stages, your dentist will also utilize a hand-held device designed to enhance the contrast between healthy and abnormal tissue.
This type of enhanced examination is not used solely to identify cancer; rather, it is useful for identifying suspicious lesions as soon as possible. When a lesion has been identified and is considered suspicious, further testing (biopsy) is necessary to confirm your dentist’s findings.
Used in addition to the visual and manual oral cancer screening, an enhanced examination enables your dentist to identify a broader range of oral abnormalities, diseases, and infections. Avoid the urge to “wait until it hurts”. Remember that early detection can mean the difference between life and death.
To schedule the most comfortable, thorough, and highly sophisticated oral cancer screening, call our experienced dental team at Hinsdale Dentistry for your appointment today.