While examining the inside of the mouth is already a typical part of a regular dental check-up, for many people it is also worth scheduling an appointment for an oral cancer screening. The American Cancer Society predicts that more than 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancer in 2020, and together…
FAQs About Your Oral Cancer Screening
You never want to get an oral cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your risks of getting the disease. Also, with early, frequent screening, you can identify the condition before it gets worse. This can minimize your symptoms and give you a higher chance of beating the disease. It is important to understand the aspects of this condition and how and when to screen for it.
The basics of oral cancer
Many people get sores in their mouth from time to time. When a person has sores that will not go away and are extremely painful, oral cancer could be the culprit. This type of cancer shows up in the form of speckled, white or red sores in various parts of the mouth. The disease can appear on the roof of the mouth or on the tongue, cheeks or throat. The sores can bleed and make it difficult for the person to eat or speak. People can die from untreated mouth cancer.
Screenings should start early
Though oral cancer most commonly affects men over the age of 50, it can develop in anyone at any age. The most effective way to catch it is to screen for it early. A dentist is a good professional to look for signs of this condition in a person’s mouth. The dentist can do this while examining other issues during a routine exam. Early intervention is a good way to cut down on the severity of the disease and how it will affect the patient’s quality of life.
A screening is not a one-time event
When a patient has an oral cancer screening, this should not be the last time this occurs. The dentist should look for this cancer in adults and children alike at least once a year. Some dentists will include this while looking for cavities, gum disease and other oral health care issues.
Some people are more prone to the disease
Patients who use chewing tobacco are 50 times more likely to have oral cancer than those who do not. For these people, frequent screenings are essential. Patients who have family members with the condition should also have a dentist check them regularly. Heavy alcohol consumption and frequent exposure to the sun are also risk factors to consider.
Screenings give peace of mind
A person should not think that they have oral cancer simply because the dentist screens for it. This test can put the patient at ease. If the dentist finds signs of cancer possibly growing in the mouth, there will be a biopsy. Upon confirming the disease, treatment will begin. The sooner this begins, the higher the likelihood that the patient can overcome the condition.
Get your screening today
If you have not seen the dentist for a while, now is the right time to schedule an appointment. A lack of wellness checkups means that your dentist has not screened you for oral cancer. You should have this examination every six months so that the dentist can confirm or rule out this disease.
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