What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a malignant growth that occurs in the mouth. However, unlike other sores or types of growth that can occur, oral cancer does not get better with time. Left untreated, it may continue to grow and potentially spread to other parts of the body.
The good news is that the 5-year survival rate of oral cancer is roughly 84%. Compared to most cancers, this is promising for patients. At Dr. Kwiatkowski’s dental practice, we are the first step in oral cancer treatment.
Am I at Risk of Oral Cancer?
In many patients, oral cancer can take years to develop. It is most common in men aged 40 years or older, but anyone can develop oral cancer. If it isn’t caught early, the condition can be life-threatening or cause permanent damage to your mouth.
There are other factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer:
- Tobacco and Alcohol Use: Those who use tobacco products (especially chewing tobacco) are significantly more likely to develop oral cancer during their lifetime. Excessive drinking can also contribute to oral cancer development.
- Unhealthy Diet: Eating a heavily processed diet, without a balanced number of fruits and vegetables, can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. A balanced diet is critical to your oral and overall health.
- Genetics: Some people are simply at a higher risk of developing cancer because of their genetics. If you have a family history of cancer, it is important to make your dentist aware.
How Are Oral Cancer Screenings Performed?
If you have ever stepped foot in our Grafton, WI dental office, you have likely already received an oral cancer screening! We perform screenings for every patient getting a routine exam. The process is simple and most patients don’t even know that it happened.
During an oral cancer screening exam, our dentists will thoroughly inspect the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. They will also feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. Additionally, beyond the oral exam to screen for oral cancer, our dentists may use a special test that involves an oral cancer screening light. The dental team will shine a light in your mouth during an exam, where the light will make your healthy tissue appear dark and abnormal tissue appear white. If there is a concern, our dentists will refer you directly to an oral surgeon who may perform a biopsy or refer you directly to an oncologist who can assist in diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.
Oral Cancer Screenings in Grafton, WI
Catch any hazards to your dental health in their early stages with our professional oral cancer screenings at Kurt R. Kwiatkowski DDS, SC in Grafton, Wisconsin. For more information on our oral health services contact our dental office directly at 262-377-0852 to schedule an appointment.