Oral Cancer Screening
Early Detection is the Key with Oral Cancer
Of the roughly 35,000 Americans who receive an oral cancer diagnosis each year, about 8,000 of them will die from the disease. Early detection of oral cancer could dramatically lower this grim statistic, as the sooner it is caught, the better your chances are of survival. Successful treatment outcomes depend upon catching oral cancer at its very earliest stages, and Dr. Sand Wall has invested in the best detection equipment on the market so that she can provide top-notch screening at every six-month checkup.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer often does not produce any noticeable symptoms until the abnormal cells have grown and reached advanced stages. We encourage patients to examine their mouths regularly for signs, but some areas of the mouth are difficult to see when looking in the mirror. That is why it is so important to keep your checkup appointments every six months to obtain a professional oral cancer screening. If you notice any of the following symptoms in between checkups, make an appointment with Dr. Sand Wall immediately:
- Patches in the mouth that are red, white, or a combination of the two
- Lumps, swellings, or thickenings in the mouth or on the lips
- A sore or ulcer that bleeds or does not heal within two weeks
- Difficulty with oral functioning, such as speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Hoarseness or a sore throat that does not go away
- Unexplained pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth, face, or neck
- Unexplained weight loss
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer. Tobacco use and excessive consumption of alcohol are huge risk factors for developing oral cancer—combine the two and your risk is significantly higher. Other risk factors include being over age 50, having a family history of oral cancer, and experiencing excessive sun exposure. Keep in mind, however, that about 25 percent of oral cancer cases strike patients with none of the usual risk factors.
Diagnosis with Advanced Technology
At every checkup, Dr. Sand Wall will perform a thorough visual inspection of your mouth, lips, throat, and neck to screen for oral cancer. She also recommends a screening with VELscope, a hand-held fluorescence detector, once a year. This revolutionary technology shines a blue light into your oral cavity that causes the soft tissues to emit a light of their own. Healthy tissues will show up as a green color, but pre-cancerous or cancerous tissues appear darker. If suspicious areas are found, Dr. Sand Wall will refer you to an appropriate specialist in the Erlanger area for follow up.
For personalized general and cosmetic dental care in northern Kentucky, contact Dr. Darlene Sand Wall today to schedule an appointment. Located in Erlanger, we serve patients from all surrounding areas, including Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Edgewood, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.