Oral Cancer Screenings in Katy, TX

One of the most important ways you can take charge of your dental health is to prioritize an oral cancer screening. This is a quick treatment performed here at Village Center Dentistry to check for signs of oral cancer earlier rather than later. If you have any questions about oral cancer screenings in Katy, Texas, or would like to go ahead and schedule one with our dentist, Dr. Linda Hoang, please contact us at 281-693-2880.

Protect Your Health with Oral Cancer Screenings

Finding a trusted and skilled dentist is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. Here at Village Center Dentistry, our dentist and team are committed to providing top-notch dental care to help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. Our highly trained team, state-of-the-art technology and patient-centered approach ensure that you receive care that is tailored to your specific needs.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the mouth, throat, or oral cavity. It can affect various parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and inner cheeks. Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not detected and treated in its early stages.

Oral cancer is often categorized into two main types:

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common form of oral cancer and originates in the thin, flat squamous cells lining the oral cavity and throat.
  • Verrucous Carcinoma: A less common but slow-growing type of oral cancer that typically appears as a wart-like growth.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Early detection of oral cancer is crucial for successful treatment and improved survival rates. Being aware of the signs and symptoms can help you seek timely medical attention if you suspect any issues. Some common indicators of oral cancer include:

  • Persistent Sore Throat: A sore throat that does not resolve with time or treatment can be a warning sign of oral cancer.
  • Unexplained Hoarseness: If your voice becomes hoarse and persists for more than a few weeks without any apparent cause, it is important to have it evaluated.
  • Persistent Mouth Sores: Any unexplained sores or ulcers in the mouth that do not heal within a few weeks should be examined.
  • Red or White Patches: The presence of red or white patches on the tongue, gums or lining of the mouth can be indicative of oral cancer.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Difficulty in swallowing, also known as dysphagia, may occur if a tumor is affecting the throat or esophagus.
  • Changes in Oral Sensation: Numbness or tingling in the mouth or lips can be a symptom of oral cancer.
  • Loose Teeth: Oral cancer can cause teeth to become loose without any apparent dental issues.
  • Pain or Earache: Pain in the mouth, throat or ear without an obvious cause should be investigated by a healthcare professional.
  • Swelling: Persistent swelling or lumps in the mouth, neck or jaw can be a sign of oral cancer.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Sudden and unexplained weight loss can sometimes be associated with oral cancer.

It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions. However, if you experience any of these signs for an extended period, or if they worsen over time, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection of oral cancer can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and a positive outcome. When oral cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage, it can be more challenging to treat and may require more aggressive interventions, leading to a lower chance of survival and a decreased quality of life.

By seeking regular dental checkups and screenings, you can ensure that any suspicious signs or symptoms are detected early. This proactive approach to oral health can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of treatment and your overall wellbeing.

What Happens in an Oral Cancer Screening

An oral cancer screening is a painless and non-invasive procedure that Dr. Hoang can perform during your routine dental checkups. Here is what you can expect during an oral cancer screening:

  • Patient History: Our dentist will begin by asking you about your medical and dental history, including any symptoms or concerns you may have related to your oral health.
  • Physical Examination: During the physical examination, our dentist will inspect your mouth, lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, and the back of your throat for any abnormalities. Dr. Hoang may use a small mirror and a bright light to get a clear view of all areas.
  • Palpation: Our dentist may gently feel the tissues in your mouth and neck to detect any lumps, bumps, or areas of tenderness.
  • Specialized Tools: In some cases, our dentist may use specialized tools, such as VELscope┬« or fluorescent lights, to highlight potentially abnormal areas that may not be visible to the naked eye.
  • Biopsy (if necessary): If our dentist identifies any suspicious lesions or growths during the screening, she may recommend a biopsy to determine if cancerous cells are present. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue for further analysis.
  • Recommendations: Based on the findings of the screening, our dentist will provide recommendations for further evaluation or treatment if needed.

Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening

Undergoing regular oral cancer screenings offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Early Detection: As mentioned earlier, early detection of oral cancer is crucial for successful treatment. Screenings can identify potential issues before they become more serious.
  • Improved Survival Rates: When oral cancer is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, the chances of a full recovery and improved survival rates are significantly higher.
  • Less Invasive Treatment: Early-stage oral cancer often requires less aggressive and less invasive treatment options, such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Preservation of Function: Detecting oral cancer early can help preserve important functions such as speech, swallowing and chewing.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Early detection and treatment can lead to a better quality of life for patients, as they may experience fewer side effects and a faster recovery.
  • Reduced Healthcare Costs: Treating oral cancer in its advanced stages can be more costly and may involve more extensive medical interventions. Early detection can help reduce healthcare expenses.
  • Peace of Mind: Regular screenings provide peace of mind by knowing that your oral health is being monitored, even if you do not have any noticeable symptoms.

Coordinating Your Oral Cancer Treatments

If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, our dentist may coordinate your treatment plan with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. This team typically includes:

  1. Oral Surgeon: An oral surgeon specializes in the surgical treatment of oral cancers. They may perform procedures to remove tumors and reconstruct affected areas of the mouth and face.
  2. Medical Oncologist: A medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with chemotherapy and other medical treatments. They may be involved in cases where chemotherapy is part of the treatment plan.
  3. Radiation Oncologist: A radiation oncologist specializes in using radiation therapy to target and destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be recommended as part of the treatment for oral cancer.
  4. Speech and Swallowing Therapist: Depending on the extent of treatment and its impact on your ability to speak and swallow, a speech and swallowing therapist may help you regain these essential functions.
  5. Nutritionist: Maintaining proper nutrition during and after cancer treatment is vital for overall health and recovery. A nutritionist can provide guidance on dietary needs and strategies to manage eating challenges.
  6. Psychologist or Counselor: A psychologist or counselor can provide emotional support and help you cope with the psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with cancer.
  7. Support Groups: Joining a support group for individuals with oral cancer or cancer in general can be invaluable for sharing experiences, advice and emotional support.

It is important to have a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and circumstances. Your healthcare team will work together to develop a personalized treatment approach that may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy or a combination of these treatments. The goal is to provide you with the best possible outcome while preserving your oral function and overall wellbeing.

Follow-Up Visits With Our Dentist

In addition to medical treatment, it is crucial to continue regular follow-up visits with Dr. Hoang, your oncologist and your other doctors to monitor your progress and address any potential complications or side effects of treatment. These follow-up appointments are essential for long-term oral health and overall recovery.

The Treatability of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious condition that can have a profound impact on your health and quality of life. However, with early detection and coordinated treatment, the chances of successful recovery are significantly improved. Regular oral cancer screenings performed by Dr. Hoang are a simple yet crucial step in maintaining your oral health and ensuring that any potential issues are identified and addressed promptly.

Here at Village Center Dentistry, we are committed to providing you with the highest standard of general dentistry, including oral cancer screenings and comprehensive dental care. Your oral health is our priority and we are here to support you on your journey to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Remember that staying proactive about your oral health, attending regular checkups and being vigilant about any changes or symptoms can make a significant difference in your overall wellbeing. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer or any other dental-related issues. Your wellbeing is our top concern and we look forward to serving you and your family’s dental needs for years to come.

Oral Cancer FAQ

If you have additional questions about oral cancer, please review our FAQ page. We also welcome you to call our office and speak with our dentist or a member of our team directly.

What are the risk factors for oral cancer?

Several factors increase the risk of developing oral cancer, including tobacco use (smoking and chewing), heavy alcohol consumption, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a history of oral cancer, excessive sun exposure to the lips, and a weakened immune system.

Why are oral cancer screenings important?

Oral cancer screenings are crucial because they can detect the disease in its early stages, making treatment more effective and less invasive. Early detection can also significantly improve survival rates.

When should I get an oral cancer screening?

You should undergo an oral cancer screening as part of your routine dental checkups. Most dentists include this screening as a standard practice during your regular appointments. If you have risk factors or notice any unusual symptoms, consult our dentist for additional screenings.

Is an oral cancer screening painful?

No oral cancer screenings are not painful. They are noninvasive and usually take just a few minutes to complete during a routine dental checkup.

What if my dentist finds something suspicious during the screening?

If Dr. Hoang and team identifies any suspicious lesions or growths during the screening, she may recommend further evaluation, such as a biopsy, to determine if cancerous cells are present. The next steps will depend on the results of these additional tests.

Are there any side effects of oral cancer treatment?

Yes, there can be side effects of oral cancer treatment, which may include pain, difficulty swallowing, changes in taste, mouth sores, fatigue and dental issues. Your healthcare team will provide guidance on managing these side effects and improving your quality of life during treatment.

Can oral cancer be prevented?

While some risk factors for oral cancer, such as genetics and HPV infection, cannot be controlled, you can reduce your risk by avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption. Practicing good oral hygiene, using lip balm with UV protection, and maintaining a healthy diet can also contribute to reducing your risk.

Is oral cancer curable?

The chances of curing oral cancer depend on various factors, including the stage at which it is detected and the type of treatment received. With early detection and appropriate treatment, many people can achieve remission and live cancer-free.

How can I support a loved one diagnosed with oral cancer?

Supporting a loved one with oral cancer involves offering emotional support, helping with daily tasks, accompanying them to medical appointments, and seeking information about their treatment options. Joining a support group can also provide valuable resources and connections for both patients and their caregivers.

Scheduling An Appointment

To learn more about oral cancer screening and schedule an appointment with our caring and experienced dentist, please contact our office today.