Each year, over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers. The American Cancer Society has stated that regular dental check-ups that include an entire mouth exam are important in early detection of oral and oropharyngeal cancers. At Titus Dentistry, patients in the Middletown, Muncie, Pendleton, Anderson, and surrounding IN communities can rely on us to perform thorough oral cancer screenings to help detect these cancers at their earliest stages, when they are most likely to respond to treatment.
Risk factors for oral cancer
While there are certain risk factors for developing oral cancer, it is important to understand that it can occur in anyone, and screening can help identify it at an earlier, more treatable stage. People who have the following risk factors are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer:
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Excessive sun exposure
- Prior oral cancer diagnosis
- Older age – the average age that people are diagnosed is 62, but one-quarter of cases are in people under the age of 55
In addition, approximately twice as many men are diagnosed with oral cancer as women; it is the eighth most common cancer in men.
How an oral cancer screening is performed
An oral cancer screening is used to detect signs of both cancerous and precancerous lesions in your mouth. To screen for mouth cancer, no special preparation is necessary, and we can perform the screening during your regular check-up.
First, we perform a visual examination of your entire mouth to ensure that they all look normal and healthy. This includes checking the following areas:
- The inner lining of the lips
- Floor of the mouth
- Roof of the mouth
- Oropharynx (area behind the wisdom teeth)
During the screening, we look for any mouth sores, white or red patches, lumps, or other abnormalities, and we use gloved hands to feel for any areas that might not be visible to the eye but can be felt.
Early detection for better outcomes
The good news is that if we do find oral cancer at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is high – nearly 85%. If we find any areas of concern, we will talk with you about the next best steps to determine whether a follow-up visit or biopsy is needed, or we may refer you to another oral health professional. To schedule your check-up and oral cancer screening, call Titus Dentistry at (765) 358-5868!