Oral Cancer in West Palm Beach, FL
Locations in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Approximately 54,000 people are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer each year. Many of these individuals first discover their cancer during a routine oral screening, which can be performed at South Florida Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for patients in Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and other nearby areas in Florida.
What is Oral Cancer?
Accounting for approximately two percent of all cancers, oral cancer can affect any area of the mouth, including the gums, tongue, soft palate of the mouth, or inside the cheeks; cancer of the larynx is sometimes considered oral cancer as well. In its earliest stages, mouth cancer is difficult to identify, and may therefore not be noticed until it is causing extreme discomfort. As such, regular oral exams are encouraged in order to catch it before it has an opportunity to spread.
You should also contact us if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- White or red patches inside the mouth
- Unexplained or uncontrolled bleeding inside the mouth
- Mouth sores that take longer than usual to heal
- Numbness or tingling, particularly when accompanied by unusual discomfort
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
Who Gets Oral Cancer?
Some groups are more susceptible to mouth cancer than others. Men over the age of 50 have a higher-than-average risk, as do tobacco users. If you fall into one of those two categories or have a family history of oral cancer, you should have more frequent oral examinations.
Oral Cancer from Smoking
An estimated 80 percent of oral cancer patients are smokers or those who use smokeless tobacco products. The longer you use tobacco, the greater your risk of developing oral cancer is. Smoking most often causes cancer of the mouth or throat, while other types of tobacco can cause cancer in the surfaces they come into contact with, primarily the lips and inside of the cheeks.
Oral Cancer from Alcohol
Approximately 70 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer are considered heavy drinkers. For men, this means consuming more than four drinks per day or greater than 14 drinks per week. Women who drink heavily tend to have more than three drinks per day or greater than seven alcoholic beverages in a seven-day period.
Benefits of Oral Cancer Screenings
The Oral Cancer Foundation claims that the death rate for mouth cancer is rather high, primarily because it is often discovered in its later stages. When it is discovered early, the odds of you successfully beating this cancer are very high, not to mention the fact that you also have more treatment options available. Treating oral cancer early also reduces the odds that it will spread to other areas of your body such as your lymph nodes or esophagus.
What is the Procedure for Oral Cancer Treatment?
Surgery is often required in order to remove the cancerous lesion. Depending on the severity of your cancer, this may then be followed up with chemotherapy or radiation therapy however this is a much more involved discussion than outlined here for obvious reasons.
Lip Lesion Removal
Oral cancer may also occur on the exposed surfaces of the lips, particularly in those who spend a great deal of time outdoors. Autoimmune diseases, such as HIV, can also make it more likely that you will suffer a cancerous lip lesion, either on the inside or outside of your mouth.
Lip lesions are typically removed using an excision method. This involves administering local anesthesia to numb the area, followed by cutting away the lesion. The remaining tissues are then stitched together as normally as possible; however, gum or skin grafts are sometimes needed in order to fill in the sunken areas that remain.
Preparing for Oral Cancer Treatment
Following a diagnosis, we will come up with a treatment plan and will then be able to provide you with greater instructions on how to prepare for treatment. We strongly advise you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco products, regardless of the type of treatment we recommend.
How much Does Oral Cancer Cost Treatment in Jupiter?
Our benefits coordinator will serve as a liaison between you and your insurance company to determine what if any benefits are available, as well as what your copay and deductible amounts are. Once we have determined your out-of-pocket costs, we will then discuss our many payment options, which include cash, personal check, and major credit cards.
Many of our patients are also able to afford treatment by applying for CareCredit® financing. CareCredit® is in itself a credit card that can be used at leading healthcare providers such as dentists, optometrists, and general practitioners. This makes it a great option if you are considering treatment from more than one provider. Even those with less-than-perfect credit scores are often approved for CareCredit® and are able to obtain payment plans they can easily fit into their monthly budget.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
One of our doctors will perform a thorough examination of your mouth and the back of your throat, using a flashlight when necessary to see into remote areas. If unusual lesions are discovered (antiquated technology) and a biopsy is decided upon, either IV anesthesia or local anesthesia will be provided to maximize patient comfort.
It can take as long as two weeks for us to receive the results from your biopsy. For this reason, we may not be able to come up with a full treatment plan during your initial visit. After taking a biopsy, we will schedule a second appointment to discuss the results and your recommended course of treatment.
Just because oral cancer cannot be seen does not mean you should not take it seriously. Contact South Florida Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today for a consultation if you are in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, or any other nearby city in Florida.