Dr. Jason L. Downey provides oral cancer screenings to help identify the earliest signs of precancerous conditions. The key to detecting and treating oral cancer in time is through regular dental exams and oral cancer screenings at our office in Las Vegas, NV, where we provide patients of all ages with a variety of dental services.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Screening involves looking for cancer before a patient displays any symptoms. The cancer may have begun to spread by the time symptoms appear. Early diagnosis of oral cancer makes the disease more treatable and increases the rate of patient survival. Depending on your risk factors, an oral cancer screening may be performed during your next dental exam. Early detection of precancerous lesions in the mouth makes oral cancer more likely to be cured.
One of the biggest risks for oral cancer is tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Additional risk factors include heavy alcohol use, previous oral cancer diagnoses, and significant sun exposure, which can increase your risk of lip cancer. If you have any of these risk factors, you should schedule regular oral cancer screenings with Dr. Downey.
Early detection of precancerous lesions in the mouth makes oral cancer more likely to be cured.
Oral cancer screenings are generally performed on patients who are over the age of 40; however, if you have other risk factors, Dr. Downey may perform oral cancer screenings earlier. Ask Dr. Downey about an oral cancer screening if you are a tobacco user, heavy alcohol user, have a previous oral cancer diagnosis, or a history of oral cancers in your family. Dr. Downey can address any questions or concerns you may have about oral cancer during your appointment and determine if a screening is right for you.
What to Expect during an Oral Cancer Screening
There is no invasive technique required to look for early signs of oral cancer, unlike many other cancer screening procedures. Most oral cancer screenings are completed during a regular dental exam. Dr. Downey will evaluate the inside of your mouth, looking for red or white patches or sores. He will feel the tissue in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. Patients who wear dentures will need to remove them so the tissues underneath can be examined.
Dr. Downey may use additional tests during your exam to find other abnormalities that may be hidden to the naked eye. If any signs of cancer or precancerous lesions are detected, the doctor will recommend a follow up visit within a few weeks to see if the lump, lesion, or abnormality is still there, or if it has changed in any way. He may request a biopsy to determine the presence of cancerous cells.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening
Dental examinations that include an oral cancer screening can save lives by detecting oral cancers early, increasing your chances of effective treatment and survival. Contact us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Downey.