OralCDx (TheBrushTest)® – A Painless Biopsy Test for Oral Cancer
At Jay Lopez, D.D.S., in Tucson, Arizona, we routinely perform a visual oral cancer screening, not only at the initial patient dental exam, but at all recall and periodic exams as well.
Oral cancers can develop on the tongue, the tissue lining the mouth and gums, under the tongue, at the base of the tongue, and the area of the throat at the back of the mouth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, oral cancer accounts for roughly three percent of all cancers diagnosed annually in the United States, or about 49,700 new cases each year. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects more than twice as many men as women. Most oral cancers are related to tobacco use, alcohol use (or both), or infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Oral cancer is not limited to just smokers, however smoking combined with heavy alcohol consumption puts a person at higher risk for oral cancer. Only 25% of oral cancer victims do not use tobacco or abuse alcohol.
The dangerous thing about oral cancer is that many cases are difficult to notice. Our frequent examination of your mouth and throat will help. We also recommend that our patients routinely examine their mouths and lips for symptoms of oral cancer. A hand mirror makes it possible to do self-exams of the interior of your mouth, under your tongue, and along the sides of your tongue. If you see a patch of discolored tissue in your mouth or on a lip, you have a sore that does not heal, you observe a lump, or you are experiencing unexplained pain, don’t wait to call us.
Please keep in mind that self-exams help but do not replace the clinical cancer screenings we provide our patients. If Dr. Lopez observes areas of abnormal tissue growth he can easily and painlessly test for dysplastic abnormal tissue (a precursor of cancer cells) with OralCDx (TheBrushTest)®. The testing involves using a small brush to collect a tissue sample for computer-assisted laboratory analysis.
“Previously, the only way we had to biopsy a spot was to cut out the tissue and send it to a laboratory for testing,” says Dr. Jay Lopez. “OralCDx has been clinically studied and earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.”
If you notice an unusual change in your mouth, please call immediately for an appointment.
Resources for learning about the symptoms of oral cancer: