Have you gotten an oral cancer screening lately?
When caught in the early stages, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer can be highly treatable. In fact, early detection could save your life. Monthly self-checks are essential, but schedule a professional screening at least once per year to help ensure ongoing health and well-being.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Checking for the presence of oral pathology — whether done at home or by a maxillofacial surgeon — primarily involves looking for changes in the mouth tissues.
Signs of head and neck cancer may include:
Red, white or speckled patches in the mouth
Lumps or sores on the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue or throat
Unexplained pain, bleeding or swelling in the gums, face or neck
Not all symptoms are visible, however. Hoarseness, a sore throat that won’t go away, ear pain and dramatic weight loss can be signs of oral cancer.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for Treating Cancer
Maxillofacial surgeons perform four basic types of procedures for patients with head and neck cancer.
Preventive surgery is done when precancerous cells are discovered. With this surgical procedure, the affected cells are removed to prevent cancerous tumors from developing.
Diagnostic surgery, also referred to as a biopsy, involves obtaining a sample of cells from the potentially affected area. The tissue is then tested to determine the presence or extent of oral cancer.
Curative surgery is a primary treatment for oropharyngeal carcinoma. The entire cancerous tumor is removed during this procedure. In some cases, curative surgery may be followed by a course of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Reconstructive surgery is performed when removal of a cancerous tumor causes changes in the patient’s appearance or the functionality of their mouth. Bone grafts, skin grafts, prosthetics and reconstructive surgical techniques can restore the head and neck after cancer.
Why Oral Cancer Patients Need a Skilled Maxillofacial Surgeon
When facing oropharyngeal cancer, patients need specialized care from a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
An experienced surgeon can remove precancerous or malignant cells while maintaining the integrity of the surrounding muscles, nerves and blood vessels. And if a tumor is large enough to cause facial disfigurement, an expert surgeon understands the proper techniques to reconstruct the appearance with minimal scarring.
Working with an experienced maxillofacial surgeon helps ensure an optimal outcome from head and neck cancer treatment.
The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is dedicated to helping patients maintain lifelong health and well-being. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule your oral cancer screening.