Three Reasons Why You Need to Get Oral Cancer Screening
There have been a few debates on whether oral cancer screening is important. However, according to the reports released by Oral Cancer Foundation, it is necessary to get oral cancer, especially if you are at risk. OCF reports that about 53,000 adults get mouth cancer and approximately 9,000 people succumb to oral cancer every year. Furthermore, mouth cancer accounts for 30 percent of all cancer cases globally.
Oral cancer screening is not a diagnostic tool, but it helps to detect signs of cancer and increase the chances of surviving it. Here are four reasons why you may need to get screened regularly.
- Oral Cancer Cases Are Increasing
Mouth cancer cases have surged in the last couple of years, and it is affecting both the young and old. In the past, oral cancer was associated with tobacco chewing and smoking (though it is the primary reason), and it was believed that it affected only older people. However, with the current reports, the disease is affecting even young people.
The Human Papillomavirus is linked is a cause of the surge in mouth cancer cases—one in every three oral cancer cases is triggered by HPV.
Other factors that may influence mouth cancer include overconsumption of alcohol, gender, and genetics.
- Getting Early Detection Increase Chances of Survival
The Oral Cancer Foundation states that the problem with oral cancer is late detection. Mouth cancer does not cause any obvious symptoms in the early stages, and by the time you experience any discomfort, the disease is well advanced in stages. Some of the advanced oral cancer signs include pain when swallowing, loose teeth, and white and red patches in the mouth.
However, with oral cancer screening, the dentist can notice any abnormal growth and cells. You are also encouraged to self-examine your mouth and gums when brushing.
- The Screening Procedure is Pain-free and Non-invasive
The oral cancer screening process is easy, convenient, and does not cause pain. The process begins with a comprehensive dental assessment. Our dentist will begin the process by doing a medical and drug history to determine if you are at risk. A physical and visual exam will then be done to assess the gums and jaw.
The physical exam involves feeling the cheeks, jaws, and under the chin to check for unusual molasses and immobile tissues.
The visual exam, on the other hand, uses dental appliances such as light, a tongue depressor, and a mirror to examine the inner parts of the mouth. The exam aims to look for ulcerations, bumps, and white patches on the skin.
What Happens After the Oral Cancer Screening?
If the dentist notices any abnormal cell growth or lesions, the dentist will recommend further testing for proper oral cancer diagnosis. A biopsy is the common diagnostic test to check if the lesion is cancerous or not. The doctor will take a sample from the area for further testing.
Are There Limitations of Getting Oral Cancer Screening?
While oral cancer is an effective screening tool, it is not a hundred percent effective. The screening may not detect very small precancerous cells, and this will increase the chances of the cancer advancing.
Also, cancer screening has not been proven to lower the number of deaths caused by oral cancer.
Despite these limitations, getting oral cancer screening increases your chances of surviving it as treatment can be started on time.
Can Oral Cancer Be Prevented?
Yes, oral cancer is preventable, and here are few ways you can do that:
- Stop chewing and smoking tobacco. Tobacco affects not only your oral health but also overall wellness. Also, avoid second-hand smoke, as it has similar effects.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol
- It is advisable to use sunscreen when you are going under direct sunlight
- Eat nutritious foods that can support your health and also incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle.
- Visit the dentist regularly for a checkup and deep cleaning
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Milestone Family Dentistry for more information on oral cancer screening and what you can expect.