Oral Cancer Screening in Spring Valley

Oral cancer is among the most aggressive forms of cancer, affecting an estimated 43,250 men and women in America each year. Only a little more than half of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive past the five year point, but early detection can help to improve these statistics. Performed at your routine hygiene checkups every six months, oral cancer screening with Dr. Michael G. Hollingshead may actually help save your life.

Oral Cancer: Why Early Detection Matters

Like all other forms of cancer, oral cancer is best treated before the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. The goal is to diagnose and treat the cancer before it spreads to other tissues in the body, including the lymph nodes. Because it is nigh impossible to spot abnormal clusters of cells with the naked eye, your dentist utilizes advanced diagnostic technology to check for cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions. If a suspicious area is identified, a biopsy may be ordered to determine the presence of these dangerous and destructive cells.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Though oral cancer may affect an individual who is otherwise completely healthy, there are some risk factors to take into consideration. These include:

  • Age. Men and women over the age of 40 are statistically more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer.
  • HPV. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted disease that increases a patient’s likelihood to develop oral cancer.
  • Tobacco and alcohol. The majority of oral cancer cases can be directly linked with the use of cigarettes, excessive consumption of alcohol, or the two behaviors combined.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Cancerous lesions found on the lips may be tied to inadequate protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Diet. Patients whose diets contain inadequate nutrients from fruits and vegetables are at a higher risk of developing cancer of the mouth and/or throat.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

In its earliest stages, oral cancer does not always present with noticeable symptoms. A patient may be affected by Stage I or Stage II oral cancer and still feel perfectly fine. This is why oral cancer screening at our office is so critical to successful treatment. If you notice any of the following symptoms between your routine dental visits, please contact our office immediately.

  • A thickening of the soft tissues anywhere in the mouth
  • Red, white, or light pink patches on the gums, cheek lining, the roof of the mouth, or the floor of the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Ulcers or sores that do not heal or tend to recur
  • Numbness, tingling, or any other abnormal sensations
  • A persistent cough, often coupled with hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Jaw pain
  • Trouble moving the tongue freely
  • Teeth that are loose or painful
  • A difference in the way dental prostheses (like dentures) fit on the gums

While these symptoms do not always necessarily indicate the presence of oral cancer, their existence does warrant serious consideration and close inspection.

Defend Yourself Against Oral Cancer in Las Vegas, NV

If it has been more than six months since your last general dentistry checkup, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hollingshead. We are always happy to provide our patients with the valuable information they need to preserve their oral health, and our team is standing by awaiting your questions. We proudly serve families from throughout the Las Vegas area, including surrounding communities in Spring Valley, Paradise, Summerlin, Spanish Trail, and beyond.