Should I Get an Oral Cancer Screening?

Posted on: November 11, 2020

Oral Cancer Screening Roswell, GA

Either a doctor or dentist can perform an oral cancer screening to look for signs of cancer in your mouth. It is basically a physical and visual examination of the oral cavity and connected tissues. A practitioner may suggest screening in response to a person’s lifestyle choices. Patients can also request it as a precautionary measure.

Oral cancer screening

The main goal of screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may eventually lead to mouth cancer at an early stage. This is usually when cancer or lesions are easier to remove and highly likely to be cured. Many dental professionals recommend a screening test for their patients. But people should be aware that currently, there are no studies that have proved that an oral cancer screening can help to saves lives.

Risk factors for oral cancer

Some dentists think that people with a high risk of oral cancer can benefit from an oral cancer screening. Based on research, some factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Men have a higher chance of getting oral cancer than women. Tobacco — whether cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, or snuff — and heavy alcohol use are also common risk factors. Smokers and alcohol drinkers who are older than 50 are the most at risk.

HPV (human papillomavirus), which is sexually transmitted, has also been linked with some types of oral cancers. Other factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include a previous oral cancer diagnosis or a history of significant sun exposure. More people have been diagnosed with mouth and oral cancers over the last several years. The reason why this is so is not quite clear. But an increasing number of these cancers are associated with HPV.

An oral cancer screening exam

Not much preparation is required for oral cancer screening, and it is usually performed during a routine dental appointment. The dentist will look for white or red patches or mouth sores inside the patient’s mouth. Using gloved hands, the provider will also feel the tissues in the mouth to check for lumps or other abnormities. The dentist will also examine the neck and throat for lumps. Some dentists often use additional tests to assist in detecting areas of abnormal cells in the mouth. If any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions are discovered, the dentist may recommend a follow-up visit or a biopsy procedure.

Visit your dentist today

It is important to keep in mind that if your dentist suggests a screening test, it does not necessarily mean that they think you have cancer. Screening tests are often given when you have no cancer symptoms. An oral cancer screening can help to identify mouth cancer early when there is a higher chance for a cure. If you are concerned about your cancer risk, contact your dentist or doctor today. You should talk to your practitioner about ways to minimize your risk and which screening tests might be ideal for you.

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