More than 45,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and having regular exams is the best way to diagnose oral cancer early. Dr. Steinbach uses state-of-the-art oral cancer screening techniques to help his Brooklyn, NY, patients stay healthy.
Oral Cancer Screening
What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the soft tissues or your mouth and throat, including your gums, lips, and soft palate. The most common signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer include:
- White, red or speckled patches that develop in the mouth
- Lump, bumps or rough spots on the lips, gums or inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding or numbness in the mouth or on the face or neck
- Sores in the mouth or on the face or neck that don't heal within two weeks
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Feeling of a foreign object in the throat
- Pain in the ear
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing or moving the jaw
- Change in the way your teeth or dentures meet or come together
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
Dr. Steinbach will carefully examine the soft tissues of your mouth to look for signs of oral cancer, including the development of discolored patches and other signs. If a suspicious area is observed, he may take an oral brush biopsy, which uses a special brush to gently remove cells from the surface tissue for further examination in a lab. If cancer is suspected, he may also opt to take a larger tissue sample using a local anesthetic to numb the area. Plus, he'll also gently feel your neck for signs of swelling.
What can I do to reduce my risk of developing oral cancer?
In addition to having regular dental checkups, understanding your risk factors is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of developing oral cancers. The most common risk factors include:
- Smoking and smokeless tobacco
- Family history of oral cancers
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive unprotected sun exposure
- Human papillomavirus (some types are associated with an increased risk of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma)