Regular screenings support effective and prompt treatment of early-stage oral cancers
On average, over a five-year period between 2014 and 2018, more than 1,850 individuals in Illinois were diagnosed with oral cavity and pharynx cancers annually, according to government data from the National Cancer Institute. These cancers affecting the mouth and throat are reportedly on the rise in our state. Fortunately, oropharyngeal cancer can be prevented and, when detected before the tumor has spread (“metastasized”), it can also be treated effectively. An oral cancer exam, scheduled at least once each year, is fundamental to prevention and early detection.
Cancer screenings at Perio Implant Chicago
A pathologic process, oral cancer may be asymptomatic or “silent” in its earliest stages. This fact underscores the importance of maintaining consistent, regular oral cancer screenings by our specialists, Drs. Peter O. Cabrera and Bahareh Sabzehei. They apply considerable skill, experience, and precision diagnostic technologies to pinpoint cancers at their earliest stages before symptoms arise or when signs are so subtle that they can be overlooked.
Screenings are integrated into regular hygiene visits. During these appointments, our doctors and hygienists are looking for potential trouble signs, including:
- Discoloration – Cancers may present as red-colored sores on the horseshoe-shaped floor of the mouth or toward the front and sides of the tongue; whitish or pink-hued patches that fail to heal; and slow-healing spots that tend to bleed easily.
- Leukoplakia – These firm, white or gray, slightly raised lesions can arise anywhere in the oral cavity. While leukoplakia may indicate pathological (cancerous) changes, these areas can also represent pre-cancers that require prompt and effective treatment to halt disease progression.
- Lumps and bumps – Screenings also involve examining the mouth, neck, and face to detect abnormalities by touch. Thickened tissue and similar irregularities may signal pathological concerns that require quick intervention.
Some patients notice changes such as frequent sore throats, hoarseness, and problems with how dentures or oral appliances fit due to swelling. In that case, we encourage them to contact us immediately to schedule a visit. Depending on what we find during your exam, we may remove a small tissue sample for further examination to rule out precancerous or cancerous lesions.
As partners in our patients’ oral health, Perio Implant Chicago further identifies risk factors for oropharyngeal cancers. It’s estimated that around 75% of these cancers are linked to modifiable behaviors, for instance, smoking and use of tobacco products and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. We work with patients to minimize or eliminate these risk factors. Those with an increased risk of developing oral cancer essentially require more frequent visits to our practice for screenings.
Call us at (312) 736-7959 today to schedule your appointment or request one online at your convenience.