Oral cancers appear as a mere sore or growth inside the mouth. The only difference with non-cancerous sores or growth is that this persists and never goes away. Oral cancer can include cancers of the tongue, cheeks, lips, the floor of the mouth, sinuses, soft and hard palate, and throat, which can turn out to be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. In this article, we discuss why oral cancer screening is crucial.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
Prompt detection of oral cancer results in better treatment outcomes. This cancer can even be cured when diagnosed early.
During an oral cancer screening, you can expect the dentist to use different tools. The purposes of these tools are to detect unusual mouth sores and discoloration in your oral cavity. During the oral screening, the dentist may also be examining your mouth thoroughly for lumps or abnormalities.
If anything is alarming, they will then and there collect a sample of tissues to forward the same for further lab tests. You must note that the dental specialist will not be able to say instantaneously if you have cancer or not. The result of tests and follow-up checkups can give more insights.
Some of the Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. If you ever observe any, you would know how to go about it. The most common symptoms are listed below:
- A persisting mouth sore or prolonged irritation in the mouth
- Red and/or white colored patches in the oral cavity
- Numbness, pain, or feeling of tenderness inside the mouth
- A lump, rough spot, thickened or eroded areas in your mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing, chewing, speaking, or moving your tongue or jaws
- A significant change in the manner the teeth fit on closing the mouth
- Unexplained weight loss
If you observe any of these signs or symptoms, you must get in touch with your healthcare professional or your dentist immediately.
Some Common Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Research has proved that men are more prone to developing oral cancers as compared to women. Several factors increase the chances of oral cancer. Those individuals who are particularly at a higher risk of suffering from oral cancer are as follows:
- Those who are chain smokers
- Those individuals who are over the age of 50 years
- Those who consume excessive alcohol
- Those affected by the human papillomavirus (HPV) tend to be at a higher risk of getting head and neck cancers, which begin from the folds of tonsils or the back of the throat.
Cancer is not a disease that can be taken lightly. This is also one of the major reasons why dentists and other dental specialists perform regular oral cancer checks during any kind of dental exam.
If you have a family history, observe early signs, or want to be proactive, you can try performing self-examination every month and also schedule dental exams to remain on top of the situation.
If you are looking for a dentist, HPS Advanced Dental Care would love to see you. Dr. Heather is gladly accepting new patients.
We are located at 4741 24 Mile Rd. Shelby Township, MI 48316, and we can be reached at (248) 652-0024. We look forward to meeting you!