Oral Cancer Screenings – San Antonio, TX
Take a Few Minutes Now for a Lifetime of Smiles Later
Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease, but researchers at the Oral Cancer Foundation say that earlier diagnosis is the best way to reduce deaths associated with this disease. At New Image Dentistry in San Antonio, we’re dedicated to doing our part to provide earlier diagnosis for oral cancer. During your six month dental exam, we will routinely perform a quick and comfortable oral cancer screening, using the state-of-the-art VELScope system. Keep reading to learn more or call our friendly team to schedule your dental exam and oral cancer screening at our dental office in San Antonio.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer occurs when cells that make up the oral and facial structures (lips, mouth, face, throat, or neck) are damaged. In most cases, damaged cells are replaced by healthy cells, but when the damaged cell structure begins to replicate, you may be diagnosed with oral cancer. Some forms of this disease are benign, producing cysts or sores that can be easily removed. Malignant forms of oral cancer attack healthy cells and spread to other parts of the body, which can lead to death without intervention.
Why is Oral Cancer Screening & Early Detection Important?
One person every hour will die from oral cancer in the US alone, and 50% of those diagnosed with this disease will not live five years beyond diagnosis. Research conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation indicates that this disease is most treatable in the earliest stages. It’s essential that this condition is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. While we will screen for oral cancer during six month checkups, please let our dental office or your general practitioner know if you notice any of the common warning signs of oral cancer, including:
- Changes in the color or texture of soft tissue
- Hard, irregularly shaped lumps or bumps in soft tissue
- Sores that don’t heal properly or that return in the same place
- Chronic sore throat or hoarse voice
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Our team uses the VELScope oral cancer screening tool. This unique light device allows us to take a closer look at concerning areas of the tissue to help us determine whether or not a patient has oral cancer. Compared with visual and manual examination alone, the VELScope system can significantly increase our ability to accurately diagnose oral cancer in the earliest stages.
How Often Should I Get Screened?
We will provide screenings twice a year during your dental exams. In most cases, this is adequate to diagnose oral cancer in the early stages. However, if you notice warning signs of oral cancer between visits, don’t hesitate to contact our team or your general practitioner right away. If you are a tobacco user (or used to be), you are at significantly higher risk for oral cancer, and you should let our team and your physician know. For these patients, more frequent screenings may be recommended.