Break The Pause: A Comprehensive Guide on Importance of Oral Cancer Screening

Posted by Lutke Dental 2022-06-01

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Oral cancer is a killer disease, claiming more lives than you may know. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common types of cancers, yet goes undetected for so long. The good news is that many measures exist for mitigating the overgrowth and spread of cancerous cells in your mouth and other parts of the body. However, you must be willing to take the necessary steps, including oral cancer screenings.

What is Oral Cancer Screening?

It is a test that examines and analyses the cells in your oral cavity to detect the presence of precancerous cells. The tests are recommended as annual routine evaluations for patients at a high risk of getting oral cancer. After your first comprehensive dental exam, your dentist will point out the need for a screening test. It is usually after (s)he has identified some anomalies that may indicate oral cancer. Some of the anomalies may include:

  • Lumps, bumps, and tumors in your mouth
  • Reddish or whitish velvety patches in your mouth
  • Swollen, reddened, and painful gums
  • Eroded areas on your lips
  • Bleeding in your mouth – that cannot be linked to an open wound
  • Hoarse voice
  • Loose tooth
  • Numbness in some parts of your mouth

What Does Cancer Screening for the Mouth Entail?

The screening tests occur in three main categories:

Visual exams – are the type of screening you can do at home. However, dentists also conduct visual exams. They try to observe various parts of your oral cavity, pointing out any abnormalities that stand out.

Physical exams – entail touching and palpating parts of your face, neck, and mouth to feel any tumors or masses. The physical exam will concentrate on your jaw, neck, and throat area, under the chin, cheeks, lips, and your head in general.

Special tests – when the dentist finds reasonable cause to keep examining your mouth (s)he will take additional measures. They include using a special blue dye rinse to reveal any cells in your mouth that will absorb the dye.

What Is the Importance of Oral Cancer Screening?

Unless you have been to a dentist in Plano, TX, for a comprehensive oral exam, you may not quite appreciate the importance of oral cancer screening or other regular evaluations. An oral cancer screening should be a routine dental test you prioritize, especially if you are a high-risk patient for this type of cancer. Some of the benefits of oral cancer screenings are:

Oral cancer screenings can help prevent the disease.

Although oral cancer screenings in Plano cannot treat cancer, they can prevent the disease. The goal is to identify any risk factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer. Once you know that you are at a high risk of the disease, you can make necessary adjustments in your life that will reduce the likelihood of getting it.

Early detection is key to the successful treatment of oral cancer.

Unfortunately, many patients know about oral cancer when it is too late. The reason is that some of its signs can easily be mistaken for gum disease. If you catch oral cancer early, there is a great chance of curing it before it costs you your life. The screenings ensure that you keep checking your oral cavity for any indicators of oral cancer. This way, your dentist will detect cancer early enough for treatment when the cancerous cells are easiest to remove and cure.

Screening tests help underline whether you are a high-risk patient.

While anyone can get oral cancer, some people have a higher likelihood of mouth cancer than others. Usually, our dentists at Lutke Dental take time to evaluate your oral health to come up with calculated projections about your oral cavity. A screening test is more beneficial to patients with a high risk of oral cancer than not. When you understand that you are a high-risk patient, you can take all the necessary precautions to fight for your oral health. Some high-risk factors for oral cancer are:

  • Smoking and other tobacco usages
  • Prolonged heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Genetics – if other members of your family have had oral cancer
  • Previous diagnosis of cancer

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