Oral Cancer Screening in Houston, Texas

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer occurs within the oral cavity and may take the form of cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue, or surrounding mouth tissue. Though the inner lining of the mouth can typically repair itself quickly when an abnormality presents itself, numerous factors can lead to the formation of cancerous tissue.

Just as regular health check-ups and screenings are recommended to monitor the health of the rest of our body, oral cancer screenings are necessary to assess the overall health of our oral cavity and to monitor changes that may occur. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cancer. As with any type of cancer or other life-threatening diseases, early detection and immediate intervention are crucial to increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Dr. Garza’s Insights on Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Dr. Amanda Garza and now we’ll be talking about mouth and throat cancer. Check your mouth each day when brushing and flossing. Signs and symptoms of mouth and throat cancer can include a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away, red or white patches, pink tenderness or numbness in your mouth or lips, a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area, or difficulty with chewing, swallowing or speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.

Now, anyone can get cancer but facts that can affect your chances of developing oral cancer can include, exposure to HPV, smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, heavy alcohol consumption, long periods of sun exposure, eating too few fruits or vegetables and increased age, specially above the age of 40.

At your regular dental visits, your dentist will check for oral cancer but be sure to notify your dentist of any changes in your mouth.

Thanks for joining me today!

Oral Cancer Screening

Left untreated or with a lack of early diagnosis, oral cancer can become life-threatening. Because the disease is impossible to identify without a thorough examination and biopsy, dental screenings are imperative for early recognition and a positive prognosis.

With each oral cancer screening at Champions Dental, we will perform a visual and physical exam to evaluate the overall health of the gums and oral tissue. During this time, we will look closely for any anomalies, including unexplained bleeding, white or red bumps or discolored tissue, swelling, and rough patches. We will also feel for any lumps or unusual-feeling tissue masses in the mouth, throat, and neck area. Once we have performed the visual and physical parts of the screening, we will discuss other symptoms that you may be experiencing, such as painful swallowing, persistent mouth sores, and chronic hoarseness.

Observations of abnormal tissue during our examination may warrant further testing in the form of a biopsy. During this procedure, a small sample of the abnormal tissue will be removed and sent to the lab for additional evaluation.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Abnormal changes in the mouth, throat, and neck can suggest an underlying problem. These are some of the most common signs of oral cancer to look out for:

  • Red or white spots in the oral cavity
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Unusual bleeding of mouth sores
  • Discoloration of oral tissue
  • Rough patches in the oral cavity
  • Abnormal, hardened lumps or hard tissue masses in or around the mouth and neck area
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness of the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Chronic hoarseness

Experiencing the above symptoms doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you have oral cancer. Having said that, if you’re suffering from one or more of these abnormalities, it’s important to call our team today for a screening. A more thorough examination and biopsy can help us rule out the life-threatening disease.

How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?

Though the answer to what causes oral cancer is not definitive, there are numerous lifestyle factors that can place you at higher risk for developing the disease. Individuals who use tobacco, consume excessive alcohol, and those who are regularly exposed to harsh UV rays have an increased risk of developing abnormalities.

Routine visits and check-ups with our team will help us monitor the health of your mouth while allowing us to detect anomalies early on. This will lead to early diagnosis and quicker treatment, both of which are fundamental for a better prognosis.

Furthermore, practicing positive and healthful lifestyle habits can help you keep your mouth healthy and reduce the number of harsh substances it’s exposed to on a daily basis. Here are several practices that can lessen your risk of developing oral cancer:

  • Frequent, regular oral cancer screenings
  • Staying away from smoking or using smokeless tobacco products
  • Limiting yourself to drinking only in moderation
  • Prioritizing a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Limiting your sun exposure and using sun protectant balms and lotions to prevent sunburns

Why Champions Dental for your Oral Cancer Screening in Houston, Texas?

We understand that a healthy mouth and healthy teeth and gums play an important role in our overall health. This motivates us to provide each of our patients with attentive, educational, and proactive dental services. The key to optimal oral health is a combination of proper preventive habits and routine visits with a supportive dental team. Along with working hard to assess the health of your mouth with an oral cancer screening, our team makes it a point to help you understand what you can do to lessen your risk of the disease and optimize your oral health.

Visit our team at Champions Dental today for a consultation or call to schedule your oral cancer screening appointment. Your beautiful, healthy smile awaits!

How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an oral cancer screening look like?
An oral cancer screening with our team at Champions Dental consists of a visual and physical exam. During the screening, we will take a close look at your oral cavity and evaluate any mouth sores, abnormal bleeding, red or white bumps, and rough patches that may present themselves. We will also feel for any lumps or hardened masses around the mouth, jaw, and neck as well as discuss any other symptoms you may be experiencing. If we identify any abnormal tissue, a small biopsy may be performed and sent to the lab for further evaluation.
What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is warranted when dangerous-looking tissue has been identified during an oral cancer screening. During this procedure, a small tissue sample is taken from the abnormal spot and sent to the lab for further testing.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Signs of oral cancer may be observed, felt, or experienced by the patient themself. Visual signs of mouth cancer may be red or white spots, tissue discoloration, rough patches, or mouth sores. Physical signs may be hard masses or lumps in or around the mouth, cheeks, lips, tongue, or neck. Other signs of oral cancer might be chronic hoarseness, incessant sore throat, difficult or painful swallowing, chewing, or speaking, or pain of the mouth, lips, cheeks, or tongue.
Who is at greater risk for oral cancer?
Individuals who use tobacco products, consume large quantities of alcohol, or individuals who are regularly exposed to UV rays may be at greater risk for oral cancer.
Why do I need an oral cancer screening?
Just like with any other form of cancer, early diagnosis and intervention is key to increasing your chances of a positive prognosis. Regular oral cancer screenings allow us to monitor and evaluate any changes related to your mouth and teeth and to intervene accordingly.
How can I prevent oral cancer?
Though there is no true formula to prevent oral cancer, there are several things that can limit your risk. Limiting your alcohol consumption and steering clear of tobacco products can lessen your chances of developing the disease. Furthermore, protecting your face and lips when under the sun can prevent harmful damage caused by UV rays.
How often do I need an oral cancer screening?
We recommend an oral cancer screening at least once a year. For our patients that are more at risk for developing the disease, more frequent screenings may be warranted.
How do you treat oral cancer?

Though we’re here to support and monitor the health of your mouth, our Champions Dental team does not treat oral cancer. If an evaluation and biopsy determine that you have the disease, we will refer you to an oncologist in the Houston area to discuss treatment options.

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