What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?

What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?

Mar 18, 2020

Oral cancer is characterized by the appearance of a sore that does not heal, in the mouth. Some of the various types of oral cancer include cancer of the gums, cheeks, lips, throat, and tongue cancer. Its effects are known to be lethal, especially when it’s not detected and treated early. This is because cancer spreads to the nearby organs and tissues, making it difficult to adopt the right treatment procedures.

Research conducted by the American Cancer Society found that men are at a higher risk of developing mouth cancer compared to women. Below are factors known to encourage oral cancer development:

  • Use of tobacco products
  • Excessive intake of alcohol
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Unhealthy diet
  • A family with a history of cancer
  • Use of smokeless tobacco
  • Age (people past 40 years are at higher risk)

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

The chances of healing from cancer are high when there are early diagnosis and treatment. To help you be on the look-out, here are some common symptoms:

  • Frequent and unexplainable bleeding inside the oral cavity
  • Presence of red and white patches in your mouth
  • Unexplained numbness
  • Formation of bleeding sores on the mouth, face and neck
  • Experiencing difficulties when speaking, swallowing or moving the tongue
  • Recurring sore throat

If you have noticed any of the signs above or you suspect that you are suffering from this disease, visit Lee Family Dental Care for an oral cancer screening.

Why Opt for an Oral Cancer Screening?

This is a test performed by a doctor or a dentist to look for any signs of precancerous conditions in the oral cavity. The aim of the screening is to detect oral cancer at an early stage as it is easy to treat. You should know that this does not lower the risk of succumbing to oral cancer, but it increases the odds of you getting cured.

During the screening examination, your health practitioner will look for mouth sores or white and red patches inside your mouth. Your dentist will also check for swellings, ulcerations, bumps and other abnormalities by feeling the tissues on the inside of your oral cavity. Your neck and throat are also examined for lumps.

A mirror, light, tongue depressor and other medical equipment are used for clear observations. Before the procedure begins, all dental appliances that are removable have to be taken out to expose all the areas under scrutiny.

Fiber optic camcorders are used to view the pharynx and larynx. This gadget is fed into the back of the throat via the nose after an anesthetic has been administered.

If the findings are unclear, additional tests will be necessary. Such tests include rinsing your mouth with an oral screening dye. Abnormal cells if present, will absorb the color of the dye, making it easier to notice them.

The Results

If something unusual is discovered, your dentist may suggest having a biopsy done. A biopsy involves taking out a small tissue sample from the troubled area and sending it to the lab for testing. Another appointment will be scheduled to see if there is any change.

Biopsies exist in different types, and your dentist or doctor will determine the one which is best for you.

Since the screening is a precautionary measure, you will return to the regular screening intervals if you test negative for cancer.

Treatment Options

There are several ways of treating mouth cancer depending on the location affected, type of cancer and its stage. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are some treatment methods available.

Pros

  • The screening is a quick process thus saves time
  • Screening helps to detect the disease at an early stage. This means that your treatment procedures will also begin early.

Cons

  • Screening does improve your health, and neither does it guarantee that you will live longer.
  • Due to human error or equipment failure, a patient can get a false-negative or false-positive test results.

Ways of Preventing Oral Cancer

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid using tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol responsibly

Health is your greatest wealth. This means that you have to take good care of yourself and ensure that you seek the appropriate treatment whenever you’re feeling sick. This is why we recommend going for oral cancer treatment in Worcester.

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