What is Oral Cancer?
A cancer diagnosis can be scary for anyone. However, in many cases, diagnosing cancer in the early stages can actually be an overall positive event. The early cancer is detected in your body, the more likely you are to have a better outcome for your health.
Oral cancer can include everything from cancer of the lips, tongue, and cheek, to cancers present on the bottom of your mouth, in the hard and soft palates, as well as cancer in your sinuses and throat. It is important to treat these cancers as early as possible, as they can be dangerous if left unchecked.
Thankfully, through regular dental checkups at family dentist offices like Stiles Dental Care, you can rest assured that we are looking out for all areas of your oral health. Scheduling and attending visits every six months means that you will be regularly screened for oral cancer — one of the first steps to addressing any possible issues.
What are Some Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
One habit greatly increases the risk of oral cancer: tobacco use. There is not a form of tobacco that is most safe to use. Whether you’re smoking pipes, cigars, or cigarettes, or even if you are only using chewing tobacco, all forms can lead to oral cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Facial sun exposure
- Previous diagnoses
- Family history
- Weaker immune systems
There are a number of symptoms you might notice in the early stages of oral cancer. These include:
- Sores that don’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty swallowing or sore throat
- Growths or red or white patches in your 54mouth
- Pain in tongue, ear, or jaw
The most important thing you can do is to schedule an appointment with Stiles Dental Care if you notice any sudden changes in your mouth. There’s no reason to wait.
How can VELscope Help?
At Stiles Dental Care, we use an innovative device to help detect oral cancer: the VELscope Vx enhanced oral assessment system. This safe and thorough device has been shown through clinical studies to be highly effective at finding oral cancer that is not visible to the naked eye. This means that oral cancer can be detected earlier, assisting in official diagnoses and early treatment plans. In fact, there have been over 25 million VELscope Vx examinations by dental practitioners in 23 countries around the world.
What Happens During a VELscope Oral Cancer Screening?
Stiles Dental Care offers VELscope oral cancer assessments for all patients ages 16 and older. We will use the VELscope Vx device during your regular dental checkup to painlessly check for cancer. The device emits a blue light to help show abnormalities inside your mouth. These abnormalities light up in what is called tissue fluorescence visualization, making abnormalities apparent so they can be quickly diagnosed and addressed.
If you have questions about VELscope, oral cancer screenings, or any changes you might have noticed in your own mouth, give us a call at 609-654-0033.