Are Oral Cancer Screenings Essential?
Doctors and dentists perform oral cancer screenings to examine oral cancer signs in your mouth or precancerous lesions. Oral cancer screening aims to identify mouth cancer early when the chances of a cure are significantly higher. Oral cancer screenings should not scare you when it is performed by Pearl dental care during a routine visit to the dentist for exams and cleanings.
Dentists routinely perform an examination of your mouth during six-monthly dental visits looking for signs of oral cancer. Dentists from oral cancer screenings in Mississauga, ON, may use additional tests to identify abnormal cells in your mouth if required.
Debates are raging between medical organizations about whether healthy people without any signs of oral cancer must undergo the screening or not. Oral cancer screenings haven’t proven they can reduce the risks of fatalities from oral cancer. However, you have the option to decide with your dentist whether an oral exam or additional tests are appropriate for you based on your risk factors.
Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Performed?
Oral cancer screenings are essential as a preventive measure to identify mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that can lead to cancer early. Recognizing these signs in the initial stages enables dentists to remove the lesions when a cure is more likely easily.
Studies haven’t proven that oral cancer screenings save lives. It is why many institutions don’t recognize the advantages of an oral exam for cancer screening.
What Are the Reasons for Oral Cancer?
There are many oral cancer causes, and people with a high risk of afflictions by these causes benefit from oral cancer screenings. The reasons are mentioned below for your understanding:
- If you are using tobacco in any form, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, et cetera, you are likely to be at risk of oral cancer.
- Excessive alcohol use or earlier oral cancer diagnosis also makes you susceptible to this condition.
- Significant exposure to sunlight without adequate safeguards can increase your risks of lip cancer.
Many people diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer are associated with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus virus (HPV). Mouth and throat cancers are increasing significantly over the last few years, even though the reasons for the increase aren’t clear.
If you are worried about your oral cancer risk, you can talk to your dentist about how you can reduce the risks and inquire about the screening tests appropriate for you. Oral cancer symptoms aren’t visible in the early stages. The optimal method to identify the condition is to visit your dentist frequently for exams, especially if you are a tobacco and alcohol user.
How to Prepare for Oral Cancer Screening?
Visiting your dentist according to schedule is the optimal way of preparing for oral cancer screening. Besides examining your teeth and gums for the customary plaque and tartar, your dentist also looks over the inside of your mouth, checking for red or white patches or mouth sores. The dentist feels that issues in your mouth checking for lumps or abnormalities with gloved hands. Your neck and throat are also examined for lumps by the dentist.
Some dentists use specialized tests with the oral exam when screening for oral cancer. The technical tests include rinsing your mouth with a special blue dye before the exam. Abnormal cells in your mouth take up the dye to appear blue. They may also shine a light in your mouth during the exam. The light is helpful to make healthy tissues appear dark while making abnormal tissues appear white.
Suppose your dentist detects any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions. In that case, they may recommend a follow-up visit in a few weeks to confirm whether the abnormal area still exists in your mouth along with its conditions.
Dentists may recommend a biopsy to remove a sample of cells from your mouth for the laboratory to determine whether cancer cells are present. Your dentist may perform the biopsy or refer to an oncologist specializing in oral cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Oral cancer screening from a dentist is merely a preventive measure to ensure no abnormal or precancerous lesions exist in your mouth. The screenings are performed during routine dental exams and don’t cost anything in terms of finances or time. You must not express concern about oral cancer screenings because it helps you to prevent a significant problem from your mouth.