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Oral Cancer Screenings – Waco, TX

Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives

Tablet that reads 'Oral Cancer'

Oral cancer rates have risen and just over 50,000 adults in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed this year. At Premier Family Dental, we know that oral cancer screenings save lives, which is why Dr. Cofer performs a simple, fast, and non-invasive screening at each and every checkup. If you’re like most people, you don’t make it a habit of inspecting the inside of you mouth, so don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup so we can do it for you!

Early Detection Is Key To Successful Treatment

Woman getting an oral cancer screening

We’re glad to report that, although oral cancer rates have risen, survival rates are higher as well. This is due to a couple of reasons: First, medical treatment has greatly improved over the years. Second, more and more patients are benefiting from early detection. In fact, when oral cancer is found early, the survival rate is 85-90%.

Thankfully, early detection is as easy as coming to see us for regular checkups. Most people only think of these visits as a cleaning and “cavity check,” but they can actually save your life!

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Smiling woman in the dental chair

In addition to getting an oral cancer screening in Waco at each 6-month checkup, we also encourage our patients to stay self-aware and watch for the following signs and symptoms in between visits:

  • Persistently feeling like something is stuck in your throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Stiffness or pain in your jaw.
  • A chronic sore throat.
  • A lump or bump that’s suddenly appeared.
  • Any sores or lesions that haven’t healed within two weeks.

Keep in mind that if you notice one of these symptoms, don’t panic. There are many non-harmful oral health conditions that look similar, such as lumps of fatty tissue or canker sores.

After Dr. Cofer has examined you, he’ll either rule out oral cancer, ask you to return in 1-2 weeks for another look, or refer you to a specialist for further assessment. Most importantly, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from a professional evaluation. 

What Is an Oral Cancer Screening Like?

Sign that reads, “Oral Cancer”

One of the biggest advantages of oral cancer screenings is that they’re fast and easy. And, since two pairs of eyes are better than one, both Dr. Cofer and one of our hygienists will perform a separate screening. Here are the basic steps:

  • First, we’ll look closely at your lips, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth. We’ll also look at the back of your throat and might ask you to say, “Ahhh,” to help us see the area better.
  • Then we’ll ask you stick out your tongue and move it from side to side. This also gives us an opportunity to examine the floor of your mouth.
  • Next, we’ll gently palpate the sides of your neck and underneath your jaw, looking for any lumps, bumps, or tenderness.

These screenings are so fast that many of our patients barely notice they’re being done. It’s not very often that something so simple can be potentially life-saving. If only all healthcare were so easy!