Oral Cancer Screening
More than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Of those 34,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only half will be alive in 5 years.
At Enso Dentistry, we do a head and neck exam on all our patients every six months. We do basic screening for oral cancer for all patients. Advanced screening may be done if you have increased risk factors.
Diagnosis and Prevention
There is no substitute for education and awareness on the part of the patient and the clinician. Dr Keerti has done a residency in Oral Medicine and Diagnosis ( the field that deals with clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of oral and facial pathologies and conditions ) from university of WA. She continues to be a faculty member in the department of Oral Medicine and keeps up with the latest . She is also a reviewer for the Journal of contemporary dentistry in the field of Oral Medicine and pathology. She believes in a complete Oral and head and neck exam at each recall /check up visit. She encourages her patients to familiarize themselves with the causes and signs and symptoms of Oral cancer.
If you or the doctor encounter a suspicious looking lesion, a completely non-invasive, painless and easy exam called a vizilite exam can be performed. This exam is usually covered by your insurance provider. First, you will be instructed to rinse with a cleansing solution Next, the overhead lighting will be dimmed. Then, your mouth is examined using ViziLite Plus, a specially designed light technology.
Another new way to test for oral cancer before incisional biopsy is beginning to be used by dental professionals -- a system called Oral CDx. Here, a dentist uses a small brush to gather cell samples of a suspicious area. The specimen is then sent to a lab for computer analysis. In a recent study of 945 patients, Oral CDx detected all cases of oral cancer correctly, even when dentists didn't suspect the presence of cancer from the lesion. This oral brush biopsy procedure is simple, and. results in very little or no pain or bleeding, and requires no topical or local anesthetic.
Signs and Symptoms
You are the most important factor in an early diagnosis. You should always contact your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one
- A sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
- A lump or thickening in the cheek.
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.
- A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
- Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
- Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, but they also indicate the possible presence of oral cancer. Only a professional will be able to tell you definitively.