Oral Cancer Screenings in Las Vegas, NV
Oral cancer doesn’t produce symptoms until it’s an advanced stage. The same applies to lots of other cancers. Early on, they’re just cells proliferating, but as they grow and spread they start to become symptomatic and affect patients.
It’s for this reason that oral cancer screenings are so essential. Detecting a cancer when it is 2cm and silent has a much better effect on prognosis than diagnosing a 7cm tumor that is already firmly attached to surrounding structures with possible spread to other organs and lymph nodes.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Just like with all other diseases, oral cancer has certain risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the more likely it is that they’ll end up with the condition.
The first and most important factor is tobacco. It would be wrong for us here at The Tooth Family Dental in Las Vegas to mention anything else before tobacco because nothing comes close. All forms of tobacco contribute to the development of oral cancer. These include cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, or any other form of tobacco consumption you can think of.
Heavy alcohol use is another well-known risk factor for oral cancer. It carries significant weight, but not as much as tobacco. A person with a prior history of oral cancer is also at an increased risk.
When Is Screening Done?
You should visit your dentist every 6 months. During these routine visits, one of the things we look for here at The Tooth Family Dental is the presence of oral lesions that might be cancerous. Any suspicious ulcers or growths need to be further examined.
There are two common courses of action when something worrisome is found. The first if there’s a low chance that it’s cancer is to wait about 2 weeks then reassess. The second is to acquire a biopsy and send it to the lab.
The only way cancer is diagnosed is through a biopsy. Cells from the lesion need to be examined microscopically for certain criteria to diagnose cancer for sure.
Treatment of confirmed cancer will depend on several factors including size, lymph node affection, and spread to other organs.