According to the Oral Cancer Foundation in the United States, there will be over 45,000 Americans diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. In addition, they estimate that one person dies every hour as a result of oral cancer. They concluded that part of the issue with this steadfast disease is that the cancer is often not detected until the later stages in development. This is why it’s so important to be screened for oral cancer during every check-up with Dr. Stearns and the help of OralID here in Englewood, NJ.
While many thousands of Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, this turns into over 8,000 deaths a year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. With early detection, many of these fatal cases could have been treated earlier and could have saved many lives. Dr. Stearns and our team are always concerned with the health and wellness of our patients, and strive to detect oral cancer before it can cause irreparable damage.
The main purpose of the screening is to check for unusual lumps, lesions, or discolored spots that could be signs of oral cancer. However, not all oral cancers can be seen on the surface of the skin, and this is where OralID comes into play.
There are a few kinds of patients who are at a higher risk for oral cancer than others, and so screening would be more beneficial for them:
- Patients with a previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Persistent sun exposure, or lack of sun protectant
- Tobacco users, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and more
The problem with oral cancer is that it’s not always detected until it’s plainly visible. Due to this, doctors like Dr. Stearns often use devices like OralID to aid in early detection, even if the cancer is under the skin.
OralID comprises of a fluorescent light and corresponding eyewear. Dr. Stearns will use the light to manually scan the sides and surfaces of your mouth and tongue, and the special eyewear will help to enhance any abnormalities that the OralID light catches. Through the eyewear, normal tissues appear green, wherein abnormal, possibly cancerous tissues will appear black.
Dr. Stearns may also subsequent this exam with a physical exam, feeling around for lumps in the chin, cheek, and neck areas.
Oral cancer screenings are typically conducted annually or twice a year, but there are some warning signs you can watch out for while you’re at home.
- Persistent red or white ulcers that won’t heal
- Growing lumps or lesions
- Unusual bleeding
- Shifting teeth
- Thickening oral tissues
While keeping an eye on warning signs can contribute to early detection, be sure to attend regular screenings with Dr. Stearns and schedule a consultation if you find anything unusual in your mouth.
When oral cancer is found at the earliest stage, treatment is quicker, simpler, less invasive, and more than 90% successful. Thanks to OralID, we have the technology to be able to detect these cancers earlier and find a solution for their removal. If you’re at risk, or unsure if you’re at risk, for oral cancer than contact us today to determine if a screening would be beneficial to you. Dr. Stearns is available to schedule these consultations, where he’ll be happy to answer your questions, discuss your oral health, and explain the OralID oral cancer screening process. If you have any pressing questions prior to your appointment, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to take your question.