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Oral Cancer

When Dr. Whitmore examines your mouth during your checkup, one thing he looks for is signs of oral cancer. Thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and it is the sixth most common form of cancer in the U.S. If detected early, oral cancer treatment success rates are quite high. 

This is why Whitmore Dental offers oral cancer screenings for our patients. 

What is Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is any cancer forming in the mouth or throat. Most oral cancers start on the tongue or floor of the mouth. Although it is very treatable, the oral cancer death rate is high because, in many cases, it is not discovered until the cancer has reached a late stage.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Oral cancer may affect anyone, but it is more likely in those who:

  • Contact with HPV 
  • Use tobacco and / or alcohol frequently
  • Work outdoors / have excessive sun exposure
  • Have a family history of head or neck cancer
  • Have a family history of cancer 
  • Are over age 40, and male

Those who frequently chew their cheeks or lips, or have poor fitting dentures are also at a higher risk. Getting checked twice each year for oral cancer is especially important because ten to 20 percent of people who have oral cancer present no risk factors at all. 

Symptoms of Oral Cancer 

Some kinds of oral cancer do not present symptoms until they are very advanced. Symptoms that may indicate the presence of oral cancer include:

  • An oral sore that doesn’t heal in one to two weeks
  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Oral pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Lump or thickness of the cheek
  • Lump in the neck
  • Earaches
  • One or more loose teeth

Oral Cancer Screening

Dr. Whitmore has completed specialized training to recognize oral cancer, and oral cancer screenings are part of the regular checkup process at Whitmore Dental. When you come in for your checkup, Dr. Whitmore will check places, such as the base of your tongue and insides of your cheeks looking for symptoms.

If you have any suspicious spots in your mouth, Dr. Whitmore may recommend a biopsy. This can be done as a brush biopsy in an area that may look harmless at first glance, or as a traditional scalpel biopsy. A sample will be excised and sent to a pathologist for examination. 

It is extremely important to keep regular checkups with Whitmore Dental. If you notice between visits any unusual changes in your mouth, set up a visit as soon as you can. 

Oral Cancer Screening by Whitmore Dental in Plano, Texas

For more information about oral cancer, including support groups and information about treatments, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation.

We understand you may have concerns about oral cancer, and will answer any questions you have about screening or treatment. Please contact the experienced dental team at Whitmore Dental in the Plano, Texas area to set up an examination.


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