For those in need, Oral Cancer Detection and Screening in Sebastopol, CA
Oral cancer is cancer that develops in or around the mouth and can include your mouth, lips, gums or cheeks. Dr. Silvano Senn and Dr. Toni Mann and their team at Whole Health Dental Group provide professional screenings and treatment in their pursuit to detect and treat oral cancer in their patients.
It can be difficult to recognize signs of oral cancer as you may not know what to look for. There are visible signs that, if you recognize them, will need to be checked out so that Drs. Senn and Mann can determine if they are signs of developing oral cancer.
Signs or symptoms of oral cancer to look out for include:
- Sores around the lip or mouth that will not heal
- Patches inside your mouth of white or reddish color
- Teeth that suddenly become loose
- Growths or lumps that develop inside your mouth
- Pain in the mouth or ears
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking and movement of the jaw and tongue
It’s true that some of these symptoms may be caused by other maladies, but you should have them looked at to determine if they are indicators of oral cancer
Oral cancer develops when healthy cells in the mouth or on the lips develop mutations in their DNA. The DNA in a cell contains the instructions telling a cell what to do. In the case of an unhealthy mutated cell, the cell is changed and will continue growing and dividing where a healthy cell would die. This uncontrolled abnormal growth can form into a tumor and, over time, can spread inside the mouth and then into other areas of the head or neck and other parts of the body causing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Oral cancer can occur naturally even if you take perfect care of yourself, but there are risk factors that can increase your chances of developing cancer. Some of these factors include:
- Smoking – Use of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can increase your chances of developing cancer. It’s been found that smokers are up to six times more likely of developing cancers than non-smokers.
- Smokeless Tobacco – Products that fall in this category include dip, snuff and chewing tobacco. Users of these products are up to 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer of the cheek, gums and/or lining of the lips.
- Over-consumption of Alcoholic Drinks – Patients who regularly consume alcoholic beverages (especially those who drink excessively) are around six times more likely to develop oral cancer.
- Family History – Those who have a family history of oral cancer are at a higher risk at no fault of their own.
- Excessive Sun Exposure – This is more of a risk for those younger in age.
- HPV – Specific strains of the human papillomavirus carry the risk for Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma also.
Early detection is critical in the treatment of oral cancers. At Whole Health Dental Group, you will undergo a thorough screening for oral cancer where any visual symptoms will be looked at and a treatment plan prescribed. It’s important to understand that not all cancer symptoms are visually detectable. That is why Drs. Senn and Mann use VELscope, an FDA-approved device used for early oral cancer detection.
The VELscope Enhanced Oral Detection System uses a wireless, handheld scope that uses natural tissue fluorescence to enhance the way dentists can visualize and detect oral abnormalities that are not apparent or visible to the naked eye. VELscope has been recognized by the World Health Organization (as of 2009) as a commercialized medical device that can address global health concerns at an affordable cost to all, including those in low and middle-income countries.
VELscope is a simple and pain-free process where a blue light is shone in the mouth to stimulate tissue. This stimulation gives the tissue a fluorescent, green appearance and assists in the detection of abnormalities. This process creates results that may prove to be invaluable and create peace of mind as cancer can be detected in its earliest stages if present. Contact Whole Health Dental on 707 549-6333 to schedule your next routine appointment and make sure to inquire about the VELscope screening system.