Reasons and importance of oral cancer screenings
Cancer growth cells cannot be controlled that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer is a sore or growth in the mouth which do not go away. It affects the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. It can be dangerous to life if not diagnosed and treated early.
Common symptoms of oral cancer-
- Swellings, lumps or rough spots on the lips, gums and other areas inside the mouth.
- Velvety white, red r speckled patches develop in the mouth.
- Unexpected bleeding in the mouth, numbness, pain or tenderness around face, neck or mouth.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing, speaking and moving the jaw or tongue.
- Pain in ear and sudden weight loss.
- Changes in way of teeth and dentures fit together.
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit the dentist soon for a dental examination. A person over the age of 50 is at high risk of the development of oral cancer if they-
- Intake tobacco
- Consume alcohol excessively
- Family history
- Sun exposure at a young age
- Human papillomavirus
The risk of developing oral cancer can be detected through oral cancer screening. It is important so that oral cancer can be treated early successfully. During oral cancer screening, the dentist uses many tools to check for any discoloration or soreness in the mouth. They check the tissues around the mouth for lumps or abnormalities. If any kind of abnormality is detected, the sample is sent to the lab for further testing.
Reasons to get oral cancer screening-
- Better survival if detected early
The survival rate has improved in many types of cancer but oral cancer survival rates are still low. The reason is other cancers have seen a good increase in screening. It is easy to treat with less invasive treatments if the cancer is detected sooner.
- The risk factor is high with newly diagnosed cancer
Many people think they are not at the risk of oral cancer. You might be aware of the risk factors for oral cancer such as smoking, excessive drinking or advanced age. Still, it’s important to get screening especially when you think you are not prone to any risk factors.
- Screening is easy and convenient
Oral cancer screening is easy and convenient as compared to the procedures for other cancers. There is no need for a separate appointment and requires a couple of minutes.
- Increasing among young people
Usually, oral cancer affects long-time smokers and drinkers. Today, many young men and women are being diagnosed. It is considered that this is linked to the human papillomavirus or HPV which leads to oral cancer. You could be also at risk if you age 25-30.
- Frequent screenings increase the chances of detection
You must be thinking about how often you should get oral cancer screening. Whenever you visit the dentist for a dental examination and regular cleanings, include oral cancer screening also in it. The regular screening will help the dentist to detect problems at early stages.
Prevention of oral cancer-
- Quit smoking and stop the use of any tobacco products.
- Reduce the consumption of alcohol.
- Intake a well-balanced diet.
- Limit exposure to the sun. Over-exposure increases the risk of cancer on the lip especially lower-lip.
You can also detect oral cancer early by doing the following home dental care-
- Conduct self-exam once in a month
Use a bright light and a mirror, check and feel the lips and front of your gums. Tilt your head back to look at the roof of your mouth. Pull out your cheeks to see the inside of the mouth, lining and the back gums. If you notice any changes in the appearance of the mouth, visit the dentist immediately.
- Visit the dentist regularly
You may conduct home dental care but sometimes it is difficult to see spots or sores which are tiny. It is recommended to go for oral cancer screening every 3 years over the age of 20. Early detection will increase the chance of successful treatment.