There are physical signs of oral cancer, such as white or red spots, lumps, and a change in voice, but these are signs of advanced disease. Oral cancer is more likely to affect males over 35, but anyone is at risk. Smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, and prolonged sun exposure increase the risks of oral cancer.
Like any form of cancer, the best means of detection is regular checkups, where the dentist will examine your throat, tongue, jaws, cheeks, and roof of the mouth for suspicious areas. If there is a potential sign, the doctor may order a biopsy, which is the surgical removal of tissue for further analysis. The tissue may be sent to a lab for microscopic inspection, which takes about 2 weeks.
It is in your best interest to schedule regular checkups and cleanings where the dentist has an opportunity to spot irregularities in the soft tissues of the mouth and spot problems before they advance to more serious stages.
Velscope Oral Cancer Screening Detect Other Health Issues
Your dentist may order biopsies on oral tissue even if they do not suspect it is cancerous. Cytopathology is the study of diseases at the cellular level and can help us determine if cells are healthy and if they pose any risk of disease. Biopsies will help us prevent future problems by detecting risks.
Oral problems are typically not studied by your regular physician, so it is really important that you visit a dentist. At Infinite Dental Wellness, we embrace a philosophy of promoting whole body wellness and believe the mouth is a window to the health of the rest of the body. By performing oral biopsies, we can help determine if cancer and similar conditions are present in other parts of the body.