Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important for Your Oral Health?

Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important for Your Oral Health?

Mar 01, 2022

Oral cancer starts in the mouth and throat and may involve the tongue, lips, or jaw. If it is not detected in its early stages, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body and be difficult to treat.

Oral cancer screening in Worcester, MA is a process to examine the mouth and throat for any signs of cancerous cells so that if there are any, they can be detected and dealt with before they become a problem.

The goal of an oral cancer screening in Worcester, MA, is to detect early-stage cancers before they have a chance to grow and spread. This screening will be done by dentists or doctors, who will use an instrument to examine the mouth for abnormalities, ulcers, or other lesions.

How is Oral Cancer Screening Done?

Oral cancer examination is done in two ways; physical and visual tests.

  • Physical test

The dentist in Worcester, MA will check your lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat for any immobile cells and tumors. This test can be uncomfortable but a necessary step.

  • Visual test

Visual test is done using dental appliances like a mirror and light. The dentist in Worcester, MA will check for bumps, lacerations, asymmetries, and patches on the skin.

Why is Oral Cancer Screening Important?

There have been debates and discussions on the importance of oral cancer screening. Some dental professionals argue that oral cancer screening is not as important because it is not a diagnostic tool. Additionally, it does not detect tiny lacerations in the mouth. However, the Oral Cancer Foundation states that oral cancer screening is crucial, especially at risk.

It has been reported that approximately 54,000 adults are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, with about 9,000 succumbing to the disease.

Although oral cancer screenings are not used to diagnose, they can help detect abnormal tumors in the early stages.

There are several reasons why you should get a regular oral cancer test like:

1. It increases your chances of treating and surviving the disease.

Oral cancer is a silent disease, meaning it does not develop any signs in the early stages. When you develop symptoms, the disease is well in the advanced stage. The best way to stop the progression is to get regular oral cancer screenings.

2. Oral cancer screening cases are rising.

In the current reports, oral cancer is affecting both the young and the old alike, hence the surge in the numbers. The increase in the cases has been attributed to the Human Papillomavirus, a common risk factor for oral cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus and affects women, though men are known carriers. Other risk factors that could contribute to the rise in cases are smoking or chewing tobacco and exposure to UV rays.

3. Oral cancer screening is non-invasive

Unlike other tests, oral cancer tests are not invasive and do not require blood testing or sedation. However, if the dentist notices an abnormal growth or lacerations, they may recommend a biopsy. This can be uncomfortable as it involves taking sample tissue from the affected area for further testing.

What are the Shortcomings of Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer examination is not a diagnostic tool but more preventive. This means it can only notice abnormal or immobile cells, but not cancer itself. You will be subjected to other tests if the dentist notices anything amiss.

Furthermore, the tests cannot detect tiny cancer cells, which can lead to other problems later.

But despite the limitations, it is important to get screened annually if you have the risk factors or as advised by the dentist in Worcester, MA.

What Happens if Cancer is Detected?

There are many different types of oral cancer treatments that can treat the disease. The treatment used will depend on the stage and the type of cancer.

The five treatments commonly used to treat oral cancers are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and stem cell transplants.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Lee Family Dental Care for more information about oral cancer screening and what you can expect.

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