Dr. Sharma and hygienist Renae discuss oral cancer symptoms they see in our dental practice. See another episode for use of Veloscope that we use to do early screening.
Oral Cancer Screening
Today, we’re talking about oral cancer. It’s one of the largest causes of cancer in the US.
Often, it goes undetected because it’s in awkward places in your mouth that you can’t see in the mirror. They start in the mouth, lips, cheek, tongue, floor/roof of the mouth, places around/ behind the teeth. Also it spreads to the oral pharynx area, behind the tongue, tonsils, and behind the roof of the mouth.
Risk factors include constant trauma to the mouth such as cheek biting, ill fitting dentures or partials, if you chew/ smoke tobacco, alcohol, HPV, genetics, weakened immune system.
What are some signs of oral cancer?
The most common is an ulcer – which is different than a canker sore. Non-healing ulcers have been there a while, instead of getting smaller and painless it’s completely painless and keeps growing. There is also a sore that bleeds, lump or growth in the mouth, if your denture suddenly doesn’t fit right, teeth shift, painful jaw stiffness, or painful chewing.
Basic screenings are important once a year. At Provident, we do it every 6 months when you come. Getting an oral cancer screening with the Veloscope once a year is important. The device penetrates through tissue, and can see better than the naked eye. I would recommend patients get the Veloscope done once a year.
See next video for part 2!