Most people know someone who has been affected by cancer. One of the cancers not talked about as frequently is oral cancer. This type of cancer often originates on the tongue or gum tissue. It can also appear on the throat or neck. Most cases of oral cancer are the caused by tobacco use or a virus known as HPV. However, it can also form due to genetics while other sufferers will never know the cause. Having a yearly Oral Cancer Screening in Austin TX is the best way to catch this disease while it is still in the early stages.
The symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed. However, many patients come to their dentist complaining of painful soars in their mouth that do not heal. These lumps may be confused with abscesses, which are commonly treated in a dental clinic. Unexplained bleeding or difficulty swallowing are also symptoms of the disease. During the early stages, many patients don’t have noticeable symptoms. That’s why it is important to visit a dentist at least once a year for a comprehensive exam.
For the majority of patients, oral cancers are caught by their dentists during routine appointments. Oral Cancer Screening in Austin TX is part of every annual dental exam. Those who have a history of cancer in their family may want to have screenings twice a year. If there is a concerning lump or sore, the dentist may order a biopsy. The tissue from the biopsy will be sent to a lab to determine if it is cancerous or not.
If cancer is diagnosed, the patient will undergo surgery to remove all of the present lumps. If the cancer was caught early enough, this may be all that is needed. However, if the cancer has spread or is very large, the patient may need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. The prognosis depends on the current health of the patient and how advanced the cancer was before treatment.
Remember that a dentist does more than just clean teeth and fill cavities. They also examine the mouth for signs of other dangerous diseases, including cancer. Click here to learn about other diseases of the mouth that are treated by a local dentist.
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