Oral Cancer Screening

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Oral Cancer Screening in Bayport, MN

Oral cancer is a serious condition that can significantly impact one’s oral health and overall well-being if left undetected. Early detection plays a crucial role in improving the chances of successful treatment and reducing the potential complications associated with oral cancer. At Jensen Family Dental, our oral cancer exam aims to detect and diagnose oral cancer at its earliest stages. During every routine dental exam, we provide oral cancer screenings to monitor the oral health of each of our patients.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer refers to the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the oral cavity, which includes the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, floor of the mouth, and roof of the mouth. It is a serious condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender.

Several types of oral cancer can develop within the oral cavity. These include:

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common type of oral cancer, accounting for most cases. It usually begins in the flat, thin squamous cells that line the oral cavity.
  • Verrucous Carcinoma – Verrucous carcinoma is a rare oral cancer typically appearing as a slow-growing, wart-like mass.
  • Minor Salivary Gland Carcinoma – Minor salivary glands are scattered throughout the oral cavity and can give rise to various types of oral cancer, including adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.

Several factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. These include:

  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption
  • HPV Infection
  • Sun Exposure
  • Poor Oral Hygiene

Importance of Early Detection

When it comes to oral cancer, early detection is key to improving treatment outcomes and ensuring a higher chance of successful recovery. Early-stage oral cancer typically requires less invasive treatment procedures. The earlier the cancer is identified, the better the prognosis, as it is more likely to respond well to treatment and have a reduced risk of spreading to other parts of the body.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Awareness of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer is essential for early detection and timely intervention. Mouth cancer can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Persistent Mouth Sores – Non-healing sores or ulcers in the mouth that do not go away after two weeks or more can indicate oral cancer.
  • Red or White Patches – Red or white patches on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or other mouth areas can be early signs of oral cancer.
  • Unexplained Bleeding – Unexplained bleeding from the mouth, gums, or throat should not be ignored, as it can be a potential symptom of oral cancer.
  • Difficulty Swallowing or Painful Chewing – Persistent difficulty swallowing, a sensation of something being stuck in the throat, or pain while chewing or swallowing may indicate oral cancer.
  • Changes in Speech or Voice – Oral cancer affecting the tongue or vocal cords can cause changes in speech patterns, including slurred or hoarse speech.

Remember, the presence of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have oral cancer, but they should be promptly evaluated by a dental professional for an accurate diagnosis.

How Often Should You Get Screened For Oral Cancer?

In general, it is recommended to have an oral cancer examination performed annually, even in the absence of any symptoms or risk factors. Several factors may influence the frequency of oral cancer screenings, including age, certain risk factors (tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, or a family history of oral cancer), and lifestyle choices. At Jensen Family Dental, we provide oral cancer screenings during routine dental cleanings and comprehensive oral exams.

What Happens at an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening is an important component of your routine dental check-up that allows for early detection of oral cancer. We will begin the screening by discussing your medical history, including any relevant risk factors or symptoms you may have experienced.
During the examination, the dentist or hygienist will look at the tissues in your mouth (cheek, floor of your mouth, tongue, roof of your mouth, etc.) and note the color, consistency, and appearance of the tissue. If something looks suspicious, the doctor may request a tissue sample be taken and checked for pathology, such as cancer.

Woman getting a routine oral cancer screening in Bayport, MN

Oral Cancer Prevention in Bayport, MN

Oral cancer can affect anyone, and the symptoms may not always be evident in the early stages. We understand the significance of oral cancer screening and the impact it can have on your overall health and well-being. Dr. Jensen and his team are committed to providing you with a thorough and compassionate screening experience tailored to your individual needs. Take control of your oral health by scheduling an oral cancer screening appointment at Jensen Family Dental in Bayport, MN.