The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Feb 01, 2021

Cancer is, without a doubt, one of the most feared diseases. Once one is diagnosed with cancer, people start imagining life without them. However, being diagnosed with the disease is not the end of life. Yes, it does not have a cure, but we’ve heard thousands of people who have conquered the disease and are cancer-free.

Among the many types of cancers, oral cancer has become quite rampant in recent years. The mortality rate is quite high, with over 40 percent of diagnosed individuals dying within five years after diagnosis.

However, you stand a good chance of conquering the disease if it is diagnosed in its early stages. That’s where screening of oral cancer comes in. In this blog, we will discuss oral cancer screening in detail to help you see why you should include it in your regular dental care plan.

Signs of Oral Cancer

First, let’s discuss the signs and symptoms of the disease. The early signs of the infections are often signs of other infections, so don’t automatically assume you have cancer if you notice any of them. The only way to be sure is through screening.

  • A dramatic loss of weight without any explanation
  • Swollen and eroded gums and lips
  • Feeling unexplained pain in your ears
  • Bleeding gums
  • Difficulty chewing or opening your jaw.
  • Persistent sores on your neck, mouth, or face that go away and comes back after some time.
  • A change in the fit of your dentures
  • An evident change of tissues in your mouth

Once you experience one or more of the above signs, keep a two-week timeline assessing the symptoms. If they are persistent, contact your dentist for screening. Remember, the earlier the infection is detected, the higher the chances of treating it. Therefore, don’t take any chances, especially now when the disease is on the rise.

Who Can Get Oral Cancer?

Unfortunately, no one is cancer-proof. It affects people of all ages and gender. However, there are some things that can make you more susceptible to the infection. These risk factors include:

Tobacco

Smoking or taking tobacco products stains your teeth and increase the risk of lung and oral cancer. Studies show that persons who use tobacco and its products are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer by at least six times.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Taking beer is often associated with an increased risk of liver cirrhosis, but it also increases a person’s risk of getting oral cancer.

A History of Cancer

If you were diagnosed with cancer in the past or a family member was, your risk of getting the disease is higher. Also, if you have a history of excessive exposure to sunlight, your risk is higher.

Screening

Screening is conducted by a doctor or dentist looking for precancerous lesions in a person’s mouth. Screening does not reduce the risk of getting the disease, and it is not clear if people with low risk for oral cancer should go for these screenings.

However, it does not hurt being on the safe side. Plus, the procedure is not painful or complicated in any way. With the HPV virus being the leading cause of oral cancer, anyone can get the disease.

Importance of Screening

  • Everyone is at risk of oral cancer, with the HPV virus being the leading cause of the infection.
  • The earlier the infection is detected, the higher the chances of treating it.
  • The mortality rate of oral cancer is very high, and you can be on the safe side by monitoring your cancer status.

What to Expect

The screening procedure is completed within a few minutes, and it can be included in your regular dental exams. The dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, looking for early signs of the disease. He will also examine your neck and throat with his hands looking for any lumps.

Sometimes, he may ask you to rinse your mouth with a special chemical. If the liquid turns blue, it might indicate that you have oral cancer. Some dentists use a special light to detect early signs of the infection.

Prevention

You can reduce your risk of getting the disease by doing the following:

  • Quit smoking
  • Don’t take alcohol in excess.
  • Maintain proper oral hygiene
  • Get a vaccine against HPV

Wang and Cortes Dental

Please don’t wait until it is too late to start taking oral cancer screening seriously. This simple procedure can play a huge role in your life. We are here for you if you have more questions about oral cancer or want a screening procedure. Book an appointment now.