Oral Cancer Screenings
In the United States alone, one adult dies every hour from oral cancers. When oral cancers are identified in early stages, treatment can begin more quickly. In early stages, treatment has a higher rate of success and is less invasive. In more advanced stages, oral cancers are more likely to have spread to other areas and need complex treatment.
Dr. Helmkamp recommends having an oral cancer screening at least once each year. Regular screenings can help ensure early detection of any potential cancers.
During your oral cancer screening, Dr. Helmkamp will check for any abnormalities. We use a VELscope to closely examine your mouth, throat, lips, gums, and tongue. This special oral cancer screening device uses a blue-spectrum light to scan the tissues of your mouth. With the VELscope, we can identify potentially cancerous growths during early, highly treatable stages.
Let us know about any potential symptoms you may have experienced, including:
- Pain or difficulty with speaking, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
- A sensation that something is caught in the back of your throat
- Sore throat with no other sinus symptoms
- Lumps or swellings in or around your mouth
- Drastic weight loss
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Mouth sores that do not heal
- Unexplained ear pain
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
If you have experienced any of these symptoms for more than a week without improvement, call us immediately for an appointment.
Anyone may develop oral cancer, but there are certain factors that can increase your risks. Some of the most common include:
- Being male (men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women)
- Use of tobacco in any form (6 times more likely)
- Genetic predisposition for oral cancers
- Excessive or prolonged exposure to sun
- Unhealthy diet
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Having gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
For more information on oral cancer screenings or to schedule an appointment, contact Mount Auburn Dental.