Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

Nov 01, 2019

Cancer has become such a big monster in the 21st century. Every day, there is always someone finding out the horrific news that they have cancer. The saddest bit about cancer is that it is treatable, yet so many die because of it. Finding cancer in the early stages is the best shot you have at treating the disease.

When it comes to dentistry, cancer hasn’t spared it. Oral health is endangered by oral cancer today more than ever. Despite efforts to increase awareness through campaigns, many people are still succumbing to oral cancer.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer consists cancerous cells that appear as growths or sores in the mouth. It qualifies as oral cancer if it is detected anywhere in the mouth. This includes the throat, lips, tongue, floor of the mouth and even the cheeks. Most patients, however, overlook the importance of oral cancer screening in Plano,TX, especially when the signs are very similar to regular mouth sores. The only way to be sure about your oral health is getting it checked by a dentist. Meanwhile, it helps to know the signs you should look out for when it comes to oral cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

  • Mouth sores – if you have mouth sores in your mouth or lips, it is necessary to get them checked. This is especially so if the mouth so do not heal.
  • Patches in your mouth – the patches are usually reddish or white. They can be very painful and uncomfortable.
  • Strange lumps in your mouth – lumps are indicators of overgrowth of cells in that part of your mouth. It can be on the inside or outside your mouth.
  • Pain and discomfort – pain is a reaction of the body’s immune system. It indicates that something is not working like it should. Although not all pains in the mouth area should be termed as cancer, talking to your dentist about it can help clarify things out.

What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is concerned with examining the mouth of a patient to identify any signs of cancer. The screening is performed by a dentist, although other doctors can screen your body for the same. Unlike other screening procedures, oral cancer screening focuses on the mouth, especially on the inside.

The primary goal of the screening services is to identify any cancerous growths early. Cancer can be stopped in the very early stages. In fact, patients may not have to go through several sessions of chemotherapy if the cancer is caught early on before it spreads.

Who Needs Oral Cancer Screening The Most?

Technically, everyone can get screened for oral cancer. Most dentist will examine your mouth for abnormal cancerous cells during the regular dental checkups. However, there are some situations that increase the risks of getting oral cancer. Such include:

  • Smoking – tobacco is linked with cancerous cells in the body. People who smoke, chew dip or use snuff are all highly susceptible to oral cancer. It is why your doctor will ask whether or not you use tobacco when you visit the dental office.
  • Too much alcohol – if everyone has been telling you to cut back on alcohol, you should start paying more attention. Alcohol is not only damaging to your liver. It can also increase your risks of getting oral cancer.
  • HPV – a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause oral cancer. This happens during oral sex.

What to Expect During a Screening Test

Your dentist will best advise you on whether or not you need a screening test. The test has different levels to it. At first, your dentist will examine your mouth through a basic dental exam the exam will be to check the health of your mouth. In the end, you may end up being treated for other dental issues other than oral cancer.

A thorough examination, however, involves a lot more. The dentist may remove your oral appliances if you have any. This includes braces, dentures, among others. This will allow him/her to examine your mouth all around to catch any lumps and spots. The examination will also involve checking the spit in different parts of your mouth. Any unusual thing will result in the next step. A dentist will use a blue dye to rinse your mouth. The dye is for the unusual cells in the mouth to absorb it to improve visibility.