Oral Cancer Screening in San Antonio
Everyone should get checked for oral cancer symptoms, but you especially should if you use tobacco, drink heavy amounts of alcohol, a previous cancer diagnosis, a history of sun exposure, or other risks factors of oral cancer. Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental offers oral cancer screening procedures and oncology in San Antonio so you can get precisely what you need while you’re here.
It is important to screen for oral cancer or precancerous lesions that could develop into mouth cancer before they become difficult to remove. Early cancer detection or lesion detection is very important for your oral and overall health and wellness.
In 2010, an estimated 37,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancer. Though this horrible dental disease can be fatal, when found in the early stages of development, oral cancer patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. However, for those who wait until it’s too late and the cancer is found later on, the majority of these cases result in a higher death rate of 45 percent at five years from diagnosis.
Contact Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental in North Central San Antonio to set up an appointment for your next oral cancer screening.
Learn More About Oral Cancer
As we mentioned, if oral cancer goes unchecked, it can end up being incredibly detrimental to your health as a whole. Many people go years without checking to see if they have oral cancer, and some may put it off because they think detection is a complicated process. In reality, oral cancer symptoms are easy to spot, and at Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental and oncology in San Antonio, we can make sure those symptoms are detected early on enough for treatment.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips
- Problems wearing dentures
- Lump on your neck
- Color change of oral tissue
- Tiny white or red spots or sores anywhere in the mouth
- A sore that won’t heal in your mouth
- Mouth bleeding
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty when swallowing
Regular dental check-ups are important for detecting cancerous and precancerous growths. Our experienced San Antonio dentists inspect the entire mouth and tongue for small white or red spots or sores that may be present. Harmful spots and harmless spots can often look similar to each other, so it takes a trained dental expert to determine which kind the spots are. To determine if a spot is harmful during an oral cancer screening, our dentists use a brush test to collect cells, and then we send them to a lab for further analysis.
Like many other cancers, oral cancer can be treated in three primary ways: oral surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Here is a quick breakdown of what patients can expect from each:
Oral Surgery: This is the most common treatment for those with oral cancer. If the cancer has spread or if your physician fears that it might, the lymph nodes in the neck may also be removed.
Radiation Therapy: This method uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. It only affects the cells in the treated area. If the tumors are larger, surgery and radiation therapy will be needed in combination.
Chemotherapy: This is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. This treatment is usually used in combination with radiation therapy and surgery for extensive cancers.
Each of these procedures can be taxing mentally, emotionally, and physically. Fortunately, if you are in need of oncology or oral surgeon, we are able to help set you up with the best oral surgeons in San Antonio.
Although oral cancer has the potential to be dangerous, there are habits that you can limit in order to prevent it.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
- Only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Protect yourself with sunscreen and lip balm when you’re outside.
- Don’t wear ill-fitting dentures that may cause oral irritation.
- Eat a balanced diet and make sure you get all the vitamins you need.
Just remember: Your chances for developing oral cancer increase if you use tobacco or alcohol, and those who smoke and drink simultaneously increase their risk of cancer dramatically. Sun exposure can lead to lip cancer. Patients who have had head and/or neck cancer have a higher risk of developing oral cancer as well. It is important to live healthily and get consistent checkups, especially if you engage in the habits listed above. All of this information will help you determine whether or not you need an oral cancer screening from our oncology specialist in San Antonio.