To help maintain a healthy smile, it is important to receive an oral cancer screening at least biannually. Detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages is vital to preserving your oral health and overall wellbeing. As oral cancer is often undetectable to the unaided eye, Dr. Victor Siegel incorporates advanced VELscope® technology to accurately diagnose cancerous lesions. Using this device, we can detect abnormalities and recommend effective treatment for patients in Rockville, MD. When identified and treated early, patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate.
Causes and Early Prevention
There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing oral cancer, including:
- Age: The risk of oral cancer increases in people over 40.
- Gender: Oral cancer is more common in men than in women.
- Sun exposure: Cancer of the lip can be caused by harmful UV rays. People who work primarily outdoors have a higher risk factor for oral cancer.
- Diet: Poor nutrition can contribute to an increased risk of oral cancer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is recommended.
- Tobacco use: The use of tobacco products is one of the most common factors that contribute to oral cancer.
- Alcohol use: The risk of oral cancer increases in people who regularly use tobacco in conjunction with alcohol.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, only 57 percent of patients newly diagnosed with oral cancer live more than five years. This is largely due to the lack of early prevention. As early detection is key to treatment, Dr. Siegel uses the latest technology to identify cancerous cells before they become life-threatening.
What to Expect
During your appointment, Dr. Siegel can perform a visual inspection of your mouth, neck, throat, and head. He can then palpate along your face and jaw to detect lumps or other abnormalities. Next, Dr. Siegel can use our VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. This special device shines a blue light onto the soft and hard tissues in your mouth. Blue spectrum lighting immediately reveals problematic areas that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Dr. Victor Siegel incorporates advanced VELscope technology to diagnose cancerous lesions.
If Dr. Siegel discovers any abnormalities, he may perform a brush test, which can be submitted to a pathology lab for analysis. If pre-cancerous cells are found, we may recommend that the area of concern be surgically removed.
Prevention and Self-Assessment
As it is important to detect cancerous cells as early as possible, you should perform regular self-assessments and look for signs such as:
- Sores in the mouth
- These can appear as white or red in color, and can present on the gums, lips, tongue, cheek, or roof of the mouth.
- Change in color
- If you notice distinct color changes in the oral tissues, it could be a warning sign, especially if you do not recall experiencing any trauma to the area.
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- If you experience any problems performing daily activities, you should contact us immediately.
During your routine checkup, we can review important symptoms to be aware of and demonstrate the proper way of performing a self-assessment.
Schedule Your Routine Oral Cancer Screening
Even if you do not notice any areas of concern, you should schedule a preventive screening twice per year to ensure your health. Contact us online or call us at (301) 963-4330 to schedule your oral cancer screening.