November is Mouth Cancer Action Month. This British initiative is intended to raise awareness of oral cancer and support research on the disease. But while American Oral Cancer Awareness Month may not happen until April, there’s no reason to delay your oral cancer screening until the spring. In fact, a visit to your Colleyville oral surgeon could even save your life! 

At Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, Dr. Chris Tye is trained in the risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer. He uses the latest digital technology to conduct cancer screenings. 

Don’t delay this vital preventive measure! Contact our office to schedule your appointment today.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer can affect any of the soft tissues in the mouth or the back of the throat. The disease affects approximately 53,000 Americans every year. Anyone can develop oral cancer, but it is more common among men over age 40. Other risk factors include smoking, HPV infection, and excessive sun exposure.

Symptoms of oral cancer include: 

  • White and/or red patches in your mouth
  • Lumps, sores, or areas of thickened skin
  • Tongue numbness
  • An unexplained sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty moving your tongue
  • Swelling in your jaw
  • Pain in your ears

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

During a routine oral cancer screening, your dentist will simply conduct a visual examination, looking for any of the signs listed above. If you have unusual lesions or lumps in your mouth, you will likely require a biopsy

During a biopsy, your doctor will obtain a tissue sample for testing. The exact procedure will depend on the location of the suspicious area. In the simplest cases, he will simply need to scrape off some cells. This procedure is known as exfoliative cytology. If the lesion is more difficult to reach, you may need an incisional biopsy. Your doctor will numb your mouth and remove the necessary tissue through an incision. Finally, if you have a sore or lump in your neck, your doctor could take a sample using a fine needle. 

A lab technician will then examine the tissue to look for the presence of cancer cells. It will usually take a few days to get your results. 

Why are screenings so important? 

The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is just 67%. However, this is not because oral cancer is more aggressive than other types. Rather, it is because it is often diagnosed late when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. If the cancer is caught early on, the survival rate jumps to 85%.

Why choose Dr. Tye for your oral cancer screening?

With degrees in both medicine and dentistry, Dr. Tye is the ideal candidate for your cancer screening. Furthermore, our office is equipped with the latest diagnostic technology, including digital 3-D imaging.

Not all mouth lesions are cancerous. But even non-cancerous tumors, cysts, or sores can dramatically affect your oral health. As a surgeon, Dr. Tye can remove these pathologies and address any underlying conditions. 

Book Your Appointment Today

Schedule your oral cancer screening this month! Contact Texas Oral Surgery Associates today. Complete our online form or call us at 817-552-3223. We treat patients in Colleyville, Southlake, Grapevine, and the surrounding areas.