The uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to the neighboring tissue is called cancer. There are many types of cancer, manifesting in many different areas of the body. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the tongue, lips, floor of the mouth, cheeks, and hard palate, can be life-threatening if it is not found, diagnosed, and treated early.
Symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Lumps, swellings, rough spots, or eroded areas on the gums, lips, or inside the mouth
- Velvety white, red, or speckled patches inside the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth for an unknown reason
- Numbness or tenderness in the face, mouth, neck, or ear for an unknown reason
- Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and will not go away
- The feeling that something is caught at the back of the throat
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Chronic sore throat or change in voice
- A change in your bite
- Dramatic weight loss
- A lump in your neck
As part of your routine dental exam at Bellefontaine Family Dental, Dr. Sam Cigno will perform an oral cancer screening. Our dentist will check for lumps or irregular tissues in your head, neck, face, and oral cavity. Your mouth will then be examined for sores or discolored tissue. Our dentist will also check for the symptoms listed above. If any suspicious tissue is located, he may recommend a biopsy, during which a tissue sample is tested for cancer. A biopsy can detect oral cancer early on, before it has a chance to spread and progress.
For more information about screening for oral cancer in St. Louis, Missouri, and to schedule your next screening, please contact our office at 314-741-5133 today. Our dentist and team are excited to serve you!