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Oral Cancer Screening

dental-exam2What is involved with an oral cancer screening?

When you make an appointment with Dr. Karanvir Sibia at Ace Dental in Roseville, oral cancer is probably the furthest thing from your mind. And, you may think that if you don’t smoke that you don’t even have to worry about getting oral cancer. However, an oral cancer screening is a very important part of every dental exam, even if you have never smoked.

It is important to catch and treat oral cancer in the early stages. To ensure that any possible signs of cancer are caught early, Dr. Sibia uses both old, tried-and-true methods and the latest technology when checking for oral cancer.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer can affect the throat or sinuses, the lips, tongue, cheeks, hard or soft palate, or the floor of the mouth. Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and damage the surrounding tissue.

In its early stages, oral cancer might not even be noticed by the patient, which makes it very dangerous. Sometimes, a person with oral cancer shows no symptoms and doesn’t have any pain. However, if oral cancer isn’t treated and has the chance to get worse, it can spread to another location — often the lymph nodes of the neck and deep into other structures.

Who is at risk for oral cancer?

Some habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, can increase the risk of getting oral cancer, but it is important to know that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in nonsmokers and people who only drink occasionally.

However, pipe, cigar, or cigarette smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to get oral cancer. People who use chewing tobacco also have an increased risk of oral cancer. The risk also increases if a person has a family history of cancer, excessively consumes alcohol, or has excessive exposure to the sun.

How can I prevent oral cancer?

To reduce the risk of getting oral cancer, you should limit your exposure to the sun, and wear sunscreen when you are outside. Drink alcohol in moderation, and don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco products. You should always try to stay healthy by eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet.

Learn more about how to prevent or treat oral cancer!

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What are the Symptoms for Oral Cancer?

Many patients have oral cancer and don’t even realize it until a dentist or doctor diagnoses it. However, if you have any of the below symptoms, you should see Dr. Sibia to be checked for oral cancer right away:

  • A sudden hoarseness or change in voice
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • A chronic sore throat
  • A constant feeling that something is stuck in the back of the throat
  • Sores in or around the mouth, face, or neck that bleed easily and don’t heal within two weeks
  • Numbness or tenderness in the head or neck
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • A sudden change in the way dentures fit, or in the way that teeth fit together
  • A lump, bump, or rough spot in or around the mouth

What kind of screening will Dr. Sibia do for oral cancer?

Dr. Sibia will perform a screening for oral cancer during your regular dental cleaning and exam.

He will begin by checking for symptoms of oral cancer, and then he will feel your neck, head, and oral cavity for any lumps or irregularities. He will also perform a visual exam, by looking in your mouth for any sores or discolored tissue.

But Dr. Sibia will also use the latest in dental technology to help him catch any signs of cancer early. He will use a special ultraviolet light or a similar device that may not be possible to see with the naked eye.

What happens if Dr. Sibia thinks I might have oral cancer?

If Dr. Sibia thinks he sees any tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious, he may want to do an oral brush biopsy. This painless procedure removes a small sample of cells to be sent to a lab for analysis. He may also recommend a scalpel biopsy to take cells for analysis. This procedure requires a local anesthesia.

He may ask that you come back in a few weeks for a follow-up visit, to see if the abnormal area is still there and if it’s changed in size.

The American Cancer Society reports that over 40,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. It is important to know that early detection can make all the difference!

If you think you may have signs of oral cancer or just want to be sure you don’t have any of the early signs, give Dr. Sibia a call to make an appointment for an oral cancer screening as soon as possible! The number is (916) 772-0111.


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