Our Oral Cancer Screenings Help Save Lives
Oral cancer captures thousands of lives each year, with most signs going unnoticed until the condition is very advanced. At Graceful Smiles Dentistry we implement thorough oral cancer screenings during every patient exam.
When oral cancer is diagnosed earlier:
- Cancerous lesions are less invasive
- Precancerous tissues can be identified before they become malignant
- Patients have a better treatment prognosis
What Really Causes Oral Cancer?
In the past we believed that you had to use tobacco or drink alcohol to develop oral cancer. Now we understand that some people develop the condition without having either of these risk factors. In addition to sun exposure, it’s also known that even certain types of viruses can cause oral cancer to develop. For instance, HPV is a virus that is now proven to cause both cervical cancer as well as oral cancer.
Certain areas of the mouth are more likely to show precancerous lesions than others. The floor of the mouth and sides of the tongue are just a couple of examples.
The Screening Process
During your oral cancer exam, Dr. Elsa will check for areas that:
- Are sores or lesions that have not healed within 2 weeks
- Only appear on one side of the mouth (unilateral)
- Raised or depressed areas in the tissues
- White or red lesions that appear different from the tissues around them
- Lesions with irregular texture, shape, or size
If necessary, we may recommend a biopsy of the tissue so that it can be examined on a microscopic level to eliminate any concern. A follow up or referral to a specialist may be needed if pathologic tissue is found.