Who should get screened?
Every adult! Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high. Like other screenings routinely given such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations; oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer in its early, highly curable stages. Make them a part of your annual check up.
What are the risk factors?
There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, and the other is through the exposure to the HPV 16 virus; or the Human Papilloma Virus Version 16; which is now the leading cause of oral cancers in the US. It is also the same virus that is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population is now young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.
Early indications of oral cancer include: red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth, hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time, and any sore which does not heal within 14 days. Advanced indicators of this disease include: the sensation that something is stuck in your throat, numbness in the oral region, difficulty in swallowing, moving the jaw or tongue, and a lump or thickening that develops in your mouth or on your neck.
What is the screening process?
A visual exam of all the tissues in your mouth will be conducted by Dr. Treva Lee, and she will feel the floor of the mouth and portions of the back of the throat to search for any abnormalities. She will also conduct an indirect examination of the nasopharynx and larynx, which involves her feeling the neck for swollen lymph nodes and other abnormalities such as hardened masses. She will also check the inside of the mouth for white patches, red patches, ulcerations, lumps, loose teeth.
We also use a great new technology called the VELscope Vx. The blue light stimulates the natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of your mouth which helps us see disease not visible with the naked eye. The VELscope Vx helps us discover oral disease before it can be seen under ordinary light, and helps us identify oral disease early on while it is still easy to treat. Pictured on the left, you can see the lesion that is difficult to see with the naked eye, but when illuminated by the VELscope Vx, it helps us easily identify the lesion. Our staff could barely wait to try out our new gadget, you can see our hygienist Niki conducting a screening on our marketing assistant Alexis.
Please visit us on Thursday, April 18th from 2 - 5 p.m. and on Monday, April 22nd from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. to receive your FREE oral cancer screening! Please remember this is by a first come first serve basis, so please arrive early - and bring your friends and family!!
If you have any questions please call our office at: 559-226-3010