The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings: Process & Benefits
Oral cancer screening is as essential as regular dental checkups and cleaning. Although oral cancer screening does not get the same hype as routine checkups, it is vital to visit the dentist in Statesboro, GA, 30458, for the procedure. This article will explain what oral cancer screening is, why it is performed, what to expect, and its benefits. So, keep on reading to learn more.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is a procedure performed by a dentist or doctor to detect signs of cancer in your mouth.
This exam aims to detect oral cancer early and treat it before it worsens. So, it would be advisable if you went for oral cancer screening near you when going for a routine checkup. Then, you can ask the dental professional to perform the procedure to ensure no cancerous growth in your mouth.
Why Is Oral Cancer Performed?
- To detect oral cancer early.
- To reduce the risk of dying from mouth cancer.
- To ensure that your oral tissues are free from cancerous cells and healthy.
- To reduce the risk of mouth cancer- the dentist will provide tips on reducing the chances of getting oral cancer.
It is imperative to note that there are factors that increase the chance of getting mouth cancer. Here are some of the factors:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco- tobacco has harmful chemicals that can lead to the growth of cancerous cells in your mouth.
- History of significant sun exposure that puts you at risk of lip cancer.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis.
What Happens During Oral Cancer Screening?
When you go for oral cancer screening in Statesboro, GA, the dentist will perform various screening methods to check for signs of mouth cancer. They include:
- Visual exam- at this step, the dental professional will look for areas in your mouth and throat with abnormal tissues. These abnormal tissues may include red areas called erythroplakia or thick white patches, also known as leukoplakia.
- Oral cancer screening dye- the dentist can use oral cancer screening tools to check for signs of oral cancer. One good example is toluidine blue dye which is coated in lesions in your mouth to identify areas that have a likelihood of being cancerous.
- Palpation- for this screening method, the dentist wears gloves and uses their fingers to feel for bumps or lumps around your neck, jaw, and face. You should let the dentist know if areas feel tender or sore when touched.
- Oral cancer screening light- special lights can also identify abnormal tissues in the oral cavity. The dentist will first rinse your mouth with fluorescent mouthwash. After doing so, they will shine a unique light in your mouth, which causes the healthy tissues to appear dark while the abnormal tissues appear white.
It is essential to note that these screening methods look for signs of cancer. Therefore, you might require more tests for an official diagnosis.
Afterward, the dentist will share the results with you. If the results show that there can be cancerous cells in your mouth, you will be advised to look for a specialist for assessment. Some of the tests that the specialist may perform include biopsy and cytology. Cytology is where the specialist takes cells from your mouth and is examined through a microscope to check for abnormalities. On the other hand, a biopsy is where the specialist removes a piece of the abnormal tissue for analysis.
What Are the Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening?
- To prevent mouth cancer- besides helping the dentist know if you have cancer, the screenings provide a chance for the dentist to advise you on how to prevent oral cancer.
- For early detection of cancer- oral cancer screening can help identify cancer early, making treatment easier than in the later stages.
- To determine risk factors- going for oral cancer screening can help the healthcare provider determine your risk levels, helping you avoid those risks.
- Reduces fatalities caused by late detection of mouth cancer.
- It is a convenient procedure- it does not require any appointment, as it can be done during regular dental checkups, making it a convenient procedure.
Symptoms like spots in your mouth that don’t heal, a lump, or white or red patches may indicate oral cancer. The sure way of determining so is by checking in at Ronald A. Tosto DDS & Associates. Our dental professional will examine your mouth and determine if you have oral cancer. If so (although not our wish), we will formulate a treatment plan to treat the cancerous cells before they become hazardous.