Oral Cancer Screenings in Harker Heights
Many of the patients we see believe that because they don’t use tobacco or drink alcohol they do not need to be screened for oral cancer. However, some studies revealed that as much as 30% of oral cancer cases diagnosed each year are patients who participate in none of the high risk behaviors most closely associated with oral cancer. This deadly disease claims one life each hour on average and most patients who are diagnosed this year will not go on to live five years past diagnosis. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the only way to decrease the number of annual deaths from oral cancer is to diagnose and treat at earlier stages.
Dentists have years of training focused on understanding oral health and warning signs of diseases related to these structures, and screening for indicators of oral cancer is one of the many invaluable services they are able to provide. We use Identifi, a tool that quickly and painlessly scans for oral cancer often discovering early warning signs before visual examination alone. The process is simple. Patients rinse their mouths with a cleansing solution. Then, the dentist uses the Identifi wand to examine the mouth looking for illuminated areas that indicate irregular tissue.
In most cases, we recommend visual and Identifi oral cancer screening as part of every six month checkup, but some patients may want to consider more frequent exams including:
- Men over 40 and women between 20 and 40
- Those who regularly use tobacco products or drink daily
- Those with immune compromising illnesses such as HIV or diabetes
- Those who have human papilloma virus
Our goal is always to diagnose and treat oral cancer in the earliest stages. If found early, there is an 80-90% cure rate for most forms of oral cancer. Contact the Market Heights Family Dental team to find out more or schedule an appointment today.