Oral cancer is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects more than 50,000 Americans yearly. In its early stages, oral cancer may not cause any significant symptoms, causing it to develop undetected.
Fortunately, oral cancer is easy to manage or treat when caught early on. That’s where routine oral cancer screenings come in. In this article, let’s discuss oral cancer, its symptoms, and risks, how oral cancer screening works, and its benefits.
Oral or mouth cancer is cancer that develops in the oral cavity. Oral cancer can develop in the throat, gums, inside of cheeks, the base of the tongue, tonsils, lips, tongue, roof, and floor of the mouth, tonsils, and mouth. If left undetected for long, it can spread to other body parts like the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes, making it difficult or impossible to control.
Seek oral cancer treatment immediately if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Below are common factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer:
Avoiding these factors can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.
Oral cancer screening is an oral exam of the oral cavity used to check for abnormal cells or lesions in the mouth, neck, or throat that may indicate the presence of oral cancer. This allows for early detection of oral cancer, where there’s a better chance of successful treatment and recovery.
Oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure that can be performed during regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Here is what to expect during the screening procedure:
The dentist will review your medical history, including previous and current oral and health issues, history of tobacco and alcohol use, family history of oral cancer, HPV infections, and much more.
Then, your dentist or healthcare provider will check your mouth, gums, cheeks, throat, and neck for signs of oral cancer. They can use various oral cancer screening methods and tools like mirrors and X-rays to perform the examination.
If the dentist identifies any suspicious lumps or areas in the mouth, they can recommend a biopsy. This involves removing a small tissue in the affected area and using it for further analysis. If any issues are identified, the dentist can refer you to another dental specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Oral cancer screening has several benefits, including:
Fortunately, there are ways how you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, including:
For more information about oral cancer and regular oral cancer screenings, contact and book a dentist appointment at Raynham Dental Group, the Office of Dr. Michael Scanlon.