Miami Oral Cancer Screening by Dr. William P. Lamas
The goal of performing Oral Cancer Screenings is to detect precancerous lesions before oral squamous cell carcinoma (mouth cancer) has the ability to develop. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) estimates that in 2019 there will be 53,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed with oral cavity and pharynx cancer, and nearly 11,000 deaths from this disease. Furthermore, SEER’s Program Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) confirms that the survival rates of oral cavity and pharynx cancers are directly related to the stage diagnosis and treatment are implemented. Having your annual Oral Cancer Screening is vital to ensuring you do not develop this dangerous disease. Dr. William P. Lamas recognizes the importance of these screenings, which is why he performs them at his office in Miami.
The Dangers of Oral Cancer
Despite the technological advancements in the treatment of cancer, survival data indicate that these advancements have not provided much of a change in survival rates. According to data gathered over a period of five years, overall survival rates related to this form of cancer are less than 60 percent. And, for those who do survive the disease, major cosmetic, functional and psychological burdens typically result. These issues result because of the dysfunctions he or she is left with: Dysfunctions that affect many aspects of the individual’s daily life.
Common dysfunctions for those whose oral and pharynx cancer was detected early include difficulty:
Routine Oral Cancer Screenings significantly increase the likelihood that lesions will be found and removed before they become cancerous.
Where Does Oral Cancer Develop?
There are two categories of oral cancer, these categories are the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx.
The oral cavity refers to the inside and outside of the lip, the lining of the cheeks, the teeth, gingival tissue (gums), the front 2/3 of the tongue as well as the hard palate (bony section of the roof of the mouth) and the floor of the mouth.
The oropharynx refers to the tonsils, soft part of the palate, base of the tongue (where it attaches to the floor of the mouth) and middle section of the throat.
Detecting and seeking treatment for this form of cancer early on is vital because it can keep you or someone you care about, from becoming an Oral Cancer statistic. Moreover, 75 percent of all neck and head cancer cases actually begin in the oral cavity.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
There are multiple signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer. An individual does not have to experience all of these, this is just a general list of potential signs and symptoms of the disease.
Other symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- A feeling as if there is something stuck in the throat.
- Red or white patches in the mouth.
- An irritation or sore in the throat or mouth that persists.
- Trouble swallowing, chewing, moving the jaw or tongue and speaking.
- Tenderness, pain and/or numbness in your lips and/or mouth.
- A thickening, crust, lump, rough spot or small area in the mouth that has eroded away.
- Changes in the pitch of one’s voice.
- A change in how the teeth fit together upon closing the mouth.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, let Dr. William P. Lamas know right away: Especially if you have been experiencing the symptoms for two weeks.
How Often Should I Have a Routine Oral Cancer Screening?
The Oral Cancer Foundation recommends that once an individual reaches the age of 18, he or she should begin having Oral Cancer Screenings on an annual basis; however, if an individual is a tobacco user, screening should begin at the age the tobacco use started.
Is an Oral Cancer Screening Exam Painful?
No, this screening is painless, quick, non-invasive and inexpensive.
Is There Anything that Increases the Risk of Developing Mouth Cancer?
Yes, there are several lifestyle choices that increase the likelihood an individual will develop this form of cancer.
Factors that increase the likelihood of developing this form of cancer include:
- Tobacco use, including chewing tobacco, cigarettes, pipes, cigars and snuff.
- A history of substantial exposure to the sun, resulting in the risk of developing lip cancer.
- Heavy alcohol use.
In addition, previously being diagnosed with oral cancer increases the likelihood of recurrence and men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women are.
If I Have a Sore in My Mouth, Does That Mean I Have Mouth Cancer?
Not every sore is cancerous, in fact, the majority of mouth sores are noncancerous; however, the only way to confirm that a sore is noncancerous is to perform a biopsy on its cells.
An Oral Cancer Screening in Miami: What Patients Need to Know
An Oral Cancer Screening is a physical and visual examination of the oral cavity, and its connected tissues. This screening is designed to look for lesions, sores, irregularities and lumps that may need to be investigated to rule out oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Preparing for Your Oral Cancer Screening with Dr. William P. Lamas
There is nothing that you need to do to prepare for your Oral Cancer Screening. Dr. Lamas performs these screenings during routine dental visits at his office in Miami.
Before your screening, if you are a new patient, you may have a complimentary phone or video consultation with Dr. Lamas. During this consultation, he will ask questions about your medical history, medication usage, lifestyle choices (e.g., smoking, drinking alcohol, participating in recreational drug use, etc.). It is imperative that you are candid with Dr. William Lamas, each question that is asked is important to ensuring your treatment is both safe and effective.
If you are a returning patient, Dr. Lamas will ask if there have been any changes in your medical history since your last visit.
When Dr. Lamas performs an oral cancer screening at his office in Miami, if he finds an unusual sore, more tests may be required to determine why the sore developed. This additional testing may include removing some of the cells with a cotton swab. These cells are removed so that they can be evaluated under a microscope: This procedure is referred to as a ‘biopsy.’ A biopsy is the only way to verify whether a patient has oral cancer.
What to Expect During Your Screening at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami
Whether you are a new patient or a returning patient, Dr. William P. Lamas needs to know if you have been experiencing any new or unusual symptoms in your mouth and/or your throat.
1. Dr. Lamas Will Check Your Oral Cavity
He will be examining your outer lips, inner lips, your cheek lining, gingival tissue, the front 2/3 of your tongue as well as the hard palate and the floor of your mouth. Dr. William Lamas will be looking for sores, bumps, inflammation, asymmetries, ulcerations, patches of color or any other abnormality.
2. Dr. William Lamas Will Check Your Oropharynx
Dr. Lamas will examine the soft area that is directly behind the hard palate on the roof of your mouth, the back section of your tongue, your tonsils and the area where your tongue attaches at the bottom of your mouth.
3. With a Gloved Hand, Dr. Lamas Checks the Inside of the Mouth
As he carefully presses on different areas, Dr. Lamas is feeling for abnormalities and lumps.
4. Dr. William P. Lamas May Also Check Your Neck and Jaw
Once Dr. Lamas has completed the oral exam, he may gently press on several areas of your neck and your jaw: Just as with the mouth, he is feeling for lumps or any other abnormalities that may need further investigation.
What Happens if an Abnormality is Detected?
Upon finding the lesion, lump, or irregularity, Dr. Lamas will not be able to tell if what he has found is cancerous; therefore, further testing may be required. However, if further investigation is necessary, the first thing you need to do is keep in mind that what Dr. William P. Lamas has detected may not be cancer.
Dr. William P. Lamas may recommend that the patient:
- Have a biopsy performed to determine if cancer cells are present.
- Return to his Miami office in a few weeks for a follow-up visit. During this follow-up visit, Dr. Lamas will determine if the lump, lesion or irregularity is still present and if it has changed in any way, or grown since the last visit.
Collecting Tissue for Examination – The Biopsy
This investigation begins with the collection of cells (i.e., tissue) from the suspicious area. The procedure to collect the tissue may be performed at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami, or Dr. William P. Lamas may refer you to another surgeon that he trusts.
Once collected, the tissue is placed in a cup containing a mixture of water and formaldehyde. This mixture preserves the tissue until it is prepared for viewing. The lid is placed on the cup, it is labeled with your name, the date and the collection site. The specimen, which is the medical term that refers to any kind of biological sample collected from a patient that is used for staging a disease process or to assist with diagnosing a condition, is then sent off to the Pathology Laboratory.
The Pathology Laboratory
Since preparing the tissue specimen for viewing takes at least a day, patients should not expect the Pathologist to provide them with an immediate answer. Once the tissue specimen has been properly prepared, a Pathologist will view it under a microscope – A Pathologist is a scientist who studies the cause and effect of diseases.
If, following the biopsy, the patient is diagnosed with oral cancer, treatment begins. The earlier treatment begins, the better the chance of survival.
What to Expect After Your Screening at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami
These screenings are not diagnostic, they are precautionary. If nothing abnormal is found, you will return for screenings at regular intervals (usually annually). If something abnormal is found, once the results from the Pathologist are received, Dr. Lamas or your treating surgeon, will inform you of the findings and discuss your options.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?
Being aware of your own risk factors and remembering to have your annual Oral Cancer Screening are the best ways to prevent this disease.
For example, as men age, their likelihood of developing oral cancer increases substantially. For men and women, smoking, unhealthy eating and excessively drinking alcohol on a regular basis can all increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Furthermore, anyone who has previously had mouth cancer, may be prone to developing it again.
Each of the scenarios listed above increases an individual’s risk of mouth cancer; therefore, annual screenings to prevent the disease become even more important for these individuals.
Will My Dental Insurance Pay for an Oral Cancer Screening Exam?
If your dental insurance covers routine visits to the dentist, it most likely covers this type of screening. However, Dr. William P. Lamas always recommends that his patients contact their insurance company to find out what their particular plan will cover before they have any procedures performed at his office in Miami.
An Oral Cancer Screening is more than an examination, it is an opportunity for you to speak with Dr. Lamas about your concerns and fears. If you are concerned about your risk of developing mouth cancer, talk to him about it.
Early detection through annual screenings can keep you and your loved ones from being listed amongst the people across the U.S. who die every year from this disease. If you are concerned because you have a sore in your mouth, or you have not had a screening in some time, contact Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami at 305-440-4114 to schedule an Oral Cancer Screening with Dr. William P. Lamas. If you prefer, you can contact us online by clicking here.
Why Patients Throughout South Florida Choose Dr. William P. Lamas
Dr. William P. Lamas is a Periodontist who has been serving the residents of South Florida for more than 20 years: He is proud to be considered a leading periodontist in the area. Additionally, Dr. Lamas is rated as a top doctor on RealSelf, he believes that these compliments have resulted from his caring demeanor, skill and desire to help patients attain the smile they have always dreamed of.