Oral Cancer Screening for San Antonio
With every hour that ticks by on the clock, another American dies of oral cancer. That statistic equates to more than 9,500 deaths every year. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, those numbers have not changed in more than 30 years despite the fact that fewer people smoke or chew tobacco, two behaviors that are proven links to the disease. Moreover, research has now found a connection between the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, and oral and throat cancer. For people diagnosed with this cancer, the five-year survival rate is barely more than 64 percent.
Is there any good news? Yes. When oral cancer is found early rather than at a more advanced stage, the five-year survival rate increases to between 80 and 90 percent. At Laith Family Dentistry in San Antonio, TX, we conduct oral cancer screenings at each one of your biannual dental checkups. Using VELscope®, an advanced cancer detection technology, we can find early signs and symptoms of the disease earlier.
VELscope in San Antonio
VELscope uses a special light to detect cancer and pre-cancers much sooner than is possible by eye inspection only. Using this technology, Dr. Kadamani and her staff look for tissue abnormalities. The harmless blue light of VELscope causes soft tissue in your mouth to naturally fluoresce. Normal tissue has a distinct pattern under the light of VELscope; this pattern can be noticeably different when there is an abnormal change, like when oral cancer is developing. VELscope is not intended to replace the visual and tactile examination of your mouth, head and neck, but rather to supplement these important components of an oral cancer screening.
Finding Oral Cancer
During your regularly schedule dental cleaning and exam, we will visually inspect your mouth, palpate your neck and jaw and use VELscope. The signs and symptoms we are looking for include:
- A lump or thicken area in or on any soft tissue in your mouth
- A sore on your lips or anywhere in your mouth that has been there for more than two weeks without healing
- A red or white patch that is either smooth or scaly
- A persistent sore throat or hoarse voice
- Ear pain, but no sign of infection
- A feeling of numbness anywhere in your mouth
- Trouble swallowing or chewing
- Dentures that no longer fit properly
- A change in your bite
If you’re ready to schedule an appointment with our team, call Laith Family Dentistry. Our San Antonio dental team is happy to serve the needs of children and adults through comprehensive general, cosmetic, and restorative care. We look forward to serving you.