Oral cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect anyone. Varied factors such as tobacco and alcohol use or exposure to Human Papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of developing oral cancer. At St. Louis South Oral Surgery, we stress the importance of routine oral cancer screening, a diagnostic measure that helps detect and combat oral cancer at an early stage when it’s most treatable.
Why Oral Cancer Screenings are Crucial
Regular oral cancer screenings are a crucial element of preventative oral health care. These screenings play an essential role in early detection of oral cancer, which is significant considering the following facts:
- The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 54,000 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2021, and 10,850 people will die from these cancers.
- Early-stage oral cancers have a five-year survival rate of up to 84%, which drops to roughly 65% or less in later stages.
- Early detection reduces the possibility of cancer spreading to other areas of the body, which in turn significantly increases the chance of successful treatment.
What Happens in an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are usually part of regular dental exams at St. Louis South Oral Surgery. Our team of specialist oral surgeons conducts a thorough assessment of your mouth to detect any early signs of oral cancer, which may include:
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Open sores that do not heal after two weeks
- Lumps or thickened areas in your mouth
- Ear pain without any loss of hearing
- Difficulty and pain when talking, chewing, or swallowing
The Oral Cancer Screening Procedure
The oral cancer screening process at St. Louis South Oral Surgery is swift and painless. Here is how it goes:
- A Visual Examination: Your oral surgeon will start with a thorough visual examination of your face, neck, lips, and inside of your nose.
- A Physical Examination: The oral surgeon will then use gloves to feel the tissues in your mouth to check for any abnormalities or lumps.
If any suspicious signs are observed, our oral surgeons may suggest additional diagnostic steps like a biopsy where a bit of tissue is taken and examined under a microscope for cancer cells.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
While everyone should make oral cancer screenings a regular part of their dental care routine, some people are at a higher risk. Key risk factors include:
- Tobacco Use: Both smoking and smokeless tobacco use are among the top risk factors for oral cancer.
- Alcohol Consumption: Heavy drinking increases the risk of oral cancer.
- Age: People over 40 have a higher chance of developing oral cancer.
- HPV: Certain strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, can cause oral cancer.
As a trusted oral health partner in both St. Louis and Festus, MO, St. Louis South Oral Surgery emphasizes the importance of preventative oral health care like regular oral cancer screenings. While the thought of cancer is undoubtedly unsettling, being proactive with periodic screenings can significantly improve your chances if a diagnosis should occur.
Early detection of cancer, facilitated by routine oral cancer screenings, is key to successful treatment and increases survival rates significantly. Rest assured that our expert oral surgeons at St. Louis South Oral Surgery are dedicated to offering comprehensive oral cancer screenings to ensure your oral health and overall well-being. Remember, your best protection against oral cancer is prevention and early detection.
Schedule an appointment today and get peace of mind. St. Louis South Oral Surgery can get you screened quickly and help you decide the best way forward for prevention and treatment.
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