Oral Cancer Screening Madison
TCD has premium Madison dental health care services, including complete oral cancer screenings for early oral cancer detection. Early detection is crucial to maximize your treatment potential. One person dies from oral cancer every hour. Oral cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Presently 30,000 patients are diagnosed annually with oral cancer. The 5-year survival rate is only 50%, accounting for 8,000 deaths each year. The high mortality rate associated with oral cancer is due to late stage diagnosis. This is why regular preventative dental care visits and oral cancer screening is so important for early detection.
Oral cancer risk factors include tobacco use, frequent and/or excessive alcohol consumption, a compromised immune system, past history of cancer and the presence of the HPV virus. However, recently 25% of all newly diagnosed cases have been in patients under the age of forty with none of the known risk factors. Oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved in the past 50 years. This is due primarily to the fact that during this time, no one had changed the way we screen for this disease (a visual and manual examination of the oral cavity, head and neck).
Dental Cancer Screening Services: Your Best Bet in Stopping Oral Cancer
The high mortality rate among oral cancer victims is primarily caused by catching the cancer too late. Your dentist’s oral cancer screens can detect cancer in its earliest stages. When treatment is begun immediately, oral cancer has a survival rate close to 90%. Planning an oral cancer screening at Total Care Dental’s Madison office can catch early-stage oral cancer and save your life. Putting off an oral cancer screening is gambling with your life. About half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years because the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment is not very effective. Don’t take your chances with oral cancer, make sure to ask about oral cancer screenings the next time you are at your Madison dentist’s office.
Know What Oral Cancer Looks Like
Your dentist is a great resource for oral health care but he needs your help. The more you know about your mouth’s health and what signs of cancer to look for, the more likely you are to notice the symptoms and seek treatment, stopping oral cancer before it’s too late.
Generally, oral cancers are uncontrolled growths in the mouth. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Sores or ulcers lasting for weeks
- Red or white patches on the tongue, cheeks, gums, or anywhere in the mouth
- Lumps or bumps on the throat, tongue, gums, lip, or in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Feeling like something is stuck in the throat
- Unexplained numbness, pain, or bleeding in the mouth
- Long-lasting sore throat
- Ear pain
- Dentures start to fit loosely
- Voice changes
The earliest stages of oral cancer are often painless, but a burning sensation can develop as the cancer grows. If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, or are having trouble moving your tongue or swallowing, contact Madison’s Total Care Dental for an oral cancer screening immediately. Your dentist’s cancer screening services are the best way to find and cure oral cancers.
Are You at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Everyone should have an oral cancer screening at least once a year during a regular dental exam to stay ahead and ensure early detection. Some people are especially susceptible to oral cancer. These groups of people are statistically more at risk to develop oral cancer:
- Men (nearly twice as likely to get oral cancer than women)
- Anyone 18 or older, but especially people over 55
- People with HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Family history of cancer
- Smokeless tobacco users
- Heavy drinkers
- Excessive sun exposure
Whether or not you fall into one of these categories, be aware of your oral health and keep an eye out for symptoms of oral cancer. Being at-risk does not mean you are doomed, and not falling into these categories does not mean you are completely safe.
Even if you practice excellent oral hygiene, you can’t always prevent oral cancer.
Take advantage of our Madison dentists’ preventative dental care services to keep your mouth healthy and catch oral cancer before it’s too late.
Oral Cancer Treatment: There Are Options
All those statistics about diagnoses and mortality rates can be frightening, but there is hope. When oral cancer is caught early enough, treatment has a 90% success rate! There are a number of treatment options, often used in combination:
- Surgery to remove cancerous tissue
- Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors
- Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells using anticancer drugs
Depending on the stage of development when the cancer is diagnosed, the patient may require only one type of treatment or all three. Some patients also make use of supportive care to control pain, symptoms, side effects of treatment, and emotional effects.
Madison Oral Cancer Detection with ViziLite Plus
In order to catch cancer at its earliest stage, Total Care Dental Madison offers a new method of detection called ViziLite Plus. A fluorescent light is used to detect a cancerous or precancerous lesion before it can be seen with the naked eye. This painless procedure only takes a few minutes and allows our dental health professionals to identify and evaluate abnormal tissue.
Keep in mind that a positive reading for abnormal cells does not automatically mean you have oral cancer. Oral tissue damage caused by biting your cheek or food irritations can be identified by the ViziLite examination. Your dentist will review the results of the test to determine whether the lesion is dangerous or benign.
Studies show ViziLite results in no false negatives and significantly fewer false positives than standard visual examinations. This means the light correctly identifies all cancerous and precancerous cells and limits unnecessary biopsies. Don’t risk it, keep your smile healthy with Total Care Dental.
Common Questions About Oral Cancer
Q: What are some common causes of oral cancer?
A: Oral cancer can affect anyone, regardless of lifestyle choices. However, some factors seem to increase the risk. This includes:
- Extreme alcohol use
- Tobacco use of any form: cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes, ect.
- Excessive exposure to UV rays (natural or artificial)
- HPV (a sexually transmitted virus)
Oral cancer can also be caused simply by genetics or unknown tissue mutations within the oral cavity itself. If a family member has been diagnosed with oral cancer, it is a good idea to have your mouth checked as well.
Q: How can oral cancer be avoided?
A: Like all cancers, there is no 100% way to prevent a positive diagnosis. However, you can reduce the risk if you do not smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Staying active and healthy may also increase your chances of avoiding oral cancer.
Q: What are some symptoms of oral cancer?
A: Oral cancer can be handled much more effectively if it is caught in its earlier stages. This is why it is essential that you contact a medical professional immediately if you begin to notice any of the following:
- A sore in or around the gums, lip, teeth, or anywhere in the oral area that does not heal
- White spot or patch on the tongue or around the gum line
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or any unusual mouth pain
Keep in mind that many of these listed symptoms can be nothing at all, or simply the results of a condition that is much less serious. So don’t panic and assume that you have cancer on the spot! By visiting Total Care Dental, we can determine the source of your oral health problem and provide treatment.
Q: How is oral cancer diagnosed?
A: Many local and private practice dentists simply do not have the space or funds to have complete oral cancer screening equipment in their office. This is why in addition to our own practice, Total Care Dental receives an abundance of referrals from throughout the region for our oral cancer screenings. We have the most up-to-date technology that allows us to detect any form of oral cancer in even its earliest of stages. In fact, our VivziLite Plus method of detection is so sophisticated we are able to actually spot cancerous areas before the human eye! The earlier cancer is detected, the sooner you can receive treatment.