Protect Your Health with Oral Cancer Screenings
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 53,000 individuals will be diagnosed with the condition in 2019 and over 9,000 will die from it. The high death rate associated with oral cancer is not because it is difficult to diagnose but in many cases, it is discovered too late. Oral cancer screenings at our Lincoln, NE, office can help detect abnormal tissue in its earliest stages, when the condition of more treatable. Dr. Andrew R. Glenn has over 15 years of experience and is trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of oral health issues.
Oral cancer screenings are simple and quick but offer immense benefits.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Certain individuals carry a higher risk of oral cancer. This may include those who:
- Use tobacco products
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
- Are older than 55
- Are male (men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as they age)
- Spend prolonged time in direct sunlight
- Have human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Have a compromised immune system
Being aware of your risk factors is essential. If you are a heavy drinker or smoker, eliminating these harmful habits can significantly decrease the possibility of developing oral cancer. Patients should also be mindful of how much time they spend in the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen lip balm daily – preferably SPF 30 or higher. Finally, make sure you have been vaccinated for HPV. Though studies are still underway regarding the link between vaccination and prevention, the HPV vaccine has been proven to prevent infections that are linked to the development of head and neck cancers.
Signs and Symptoms
The most dangerous aspect of oral cancer is that the condition can go unnoticed for some time. It is often painless, and may not present obvious physical symptoms. There are, however, a few warning signs that can indicate pre-cancerous or cancerous cells:
- Sores or lesions on the lips or mouth that do not go away
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Prolonged hoarseness
- Red or white patches appearing on the lips, tongue, gums, or inside of the cheeks
- Swelling along the jaw
- Tooth mobility
- A lump in the mouth or on the neck
- A change in the way dentures fit
If you recognize any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. Dr. Glenn can determine the cause and recommend any necessary next steps.
About the Screening Process
An oral cancer screening can be completed in just a few minutes at our Lincoln office. Dr. Glenn visually assesses the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and other oral soft tissues. To detect any abnormalities, such as lumps or bumps, he also palpates the areas around the head and neck.
Regular screenings at our practice can catch oral cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
If any irregularities are detected, Dr. Glenn refers patients to an oncologist for further testing. If cancer cells are confirmed, the appropriate course of treatment is recommended. Regular screenings with your oral healthcare professional can help catch cancer early. As a result, treatment can be more effective and side effects can be less severe.
Schedule a Screening Today
Oral cancer screenings are a routine aspect of dental healthcare and one of the simplest ways to protect your well-being. Schedule a consultation at our Lincoln practice today. Contact us online or give us a call at (402) 421-3401.