We encourage that you schedule an oral screening for cancer each year. If we find a cancerous lesion or growth early, you are more likely to experience a successful outcome. When performing a screening, we use x-rays to check for the spread of the disease.
The Screening Process
Before x-rays are used, we check the oral cavity if we suspect a malignancy. A though examination of the oral cavity is conducted to check for leukoplakia (white patches), erythroplakia (red patches), or erythroleukoplakia (red and white patches). We also look at sores that have been recurrent and will not heal. If we believe that cancer is present, we will perform a biopsy, or take a sample of tissue for analysis. If a malignancy is present, we will need to see if the cancer has spread and therefore must go through a staging process to check on the progression of the disease. This is when we use x-rays for early detection and treatment.
By taking dental x-rays, we can see if the cancer is contained or if it has spread to the jaws. An x-ray of the chest and lungs can also help determine if the disease has spread to these areas. A CT scan can help us see if tumors have developed in the mouth, neck, or throat, or other area of the body. MRIs are also used to check the extent of the disease.
If we catch oral cancer early, the use of x-rays can prove to be invaluable in treating the disease and preventing its spread. Never downplay the importance of getting a yearly cancer screening or having dental x-rays taken to support both your oral and maxillofacial health. Give us a call or contact us with any questions about the use of x-rays in diagnosing and treating cancer of the mouth.