One of the first lines of defense against oral cancer is a biannual screening. Like many diseases, oral cancer has a much better prognosis with early detection and treatment, making regular screenings crucial to your oral and overall health. Dr. Andrew Tran at Galleria Smiles performs an oral cancer screening during each routine dental visit to our Sugar Land and Houston, TX, offices. He incorporates advanced VELscope® technology, which can identify abnormalities that may not be visible to the unaided eye.
The Importance of Early Detection
According to the Centers for Disease Control , more than 40,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year, and over 9,000 people loose their lives to the disease. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is about 50 percent. Late detection of the disease largely contributes to this high mortality rate. When caught in its initial stages, oral cancer is more treatable.
We incorporate advanced VELscope technology, which can identify abnormalities that may not be visible to the unaided eye.
Who Is At-Risk?
You may be at a higher risk of developing oral cancer if you:
- Are over 40 years of age
- Consume large amounts of alcohol
- Smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars
- Chew tobacco
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have had extensive exposure to ultraviolet light
- Have the human papillomavirus (HPV)
It is important to remember that not all patients with risk factors will develop oral cancer. However, it is equally important to note that patients with no risk factors at all can also develop the disease.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Often times, oral cancer patients do not notice symptoms until the disease has metastasized. However, some of the first detectable signs of oral cancer include small white or red patches on the lips, gums, tongue, palate, or inside the cheeks. While many lesions in the mouth are harmless, it is always advisable to visit the dentist for a checkup if you notice any abnormalities. Symptoms of advanced oral cancer include a constant sore throat, numbness in the mouth, trouble swallowing, chronic mouth ulcers, or loosened teeth.
Screening at Our Office
During a routine dental appointment at our office, Dr. Tran will thoroughly examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. He can visually assess your gums, lips, tongue, and cheeks, as well as palpate the areas. Dr. Tran can also use our state-of-the-art VELscope Oral Assessment System, which uses fluorescent light to identify abnormal tissue. Should a lesion be detected, we can refer you to a specialist for more in-depth testing.
Preserve Your Health
Protect yourself against oral cancer by maintaining regular checkups with your dentist. To learn more about the importance of oral cancer examinations or the other services we provide, we encourage you to contact us online or call our Houston office at (832) 831-5417 or our Sugar Land office at (281) 969-7456.