Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth as well as the back of the throat. Oral cancers develop on the tongue, at the base of the tongue and on the tissue lining the gums and mouth. They also develop under the tongue and in the area of the throat at the back of the mouth.…
The FAQs of an Oral Cancer Screening
The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer over the coming year. The mortality rate of this cancer is higher than most other cancers, making early diagnosis through oral cancer screening and prevention critical in combating its effects. Patients frequently have numerous concerns regarding oral cancer and the screening process, and dentists and dental hygienists play an important role in providing the most up-to-date information while also educating them on prevention.
Frequently asked questions regarding oral cancer
The following are patients' most common questions regarding oral cancer:
Who is at risk of developing oral cancer?
Regular tobacco use in any form is a risk factor for oral cancer. While smoking is most commonly associated with throat cancer, it is also a risk factor for mouth cancer. Chewing or holding smokeless tobacco in the mouth produces tissue changes over time. This can result in a proliferation of malignant cells that quickly multiply.
Although many individuals are aware of the relationship between tobacco use and mouth cancer, fewer are mindful of the surge in oral cancer caused by the human papillomavirus. Unprotected intercourse or having numerous sexual partners are high-risk behaviors linked to this form of oral cancer. Dentists and other health professionals are required to inform patients about any risk factors and provide advice or counseling on how to avoid high-risk behaviors.
How often should screening be performed?
Many oral cancers are discovered later in their progression when treatment is more challenging. Early cancer stages are easier to treat, and the prognosis is generally better. As a result, it is critical that patients see a dentist regularly and that they undergo a standard oral cancer screening at each appointment. A normal patient should visit the dentist twice a year for a complete examination, which often includes basic cleaning and X-rays. Those who fall under the category of high-risk individuals need to consult with a dental professional more often.
How does the dentist perform oral cancer screening?
The most frequent methods used by dentists to detect cancer are visual examination and digital palpation. When checking the tongue base, the patient may be asked to touch the tip of the tongue to the palate. The dentist will also examine the tongue's sides as well as the lips, throat, and gums. Biopsies of odd lesions, such as white or red spots or sores, may be taken and submitted to a lab for analysis. Although not all worrisome spots are malignant, it is vital to test every suspicious area as soon as possible.
Are oral cancer screenings painful?
Oral cancer screenings entail a visual examination of the oral cavity tissues by the dental professional. The screening is completely painless. If the dentist has any concerns about any observation, they will request a biopsy. A biopsy involves the removal of a tiny quantity of tissue for subsequent study. If a biopsy is required, a local anesthetic can be given to make the procedure painless.
Checking for oral cancer
Oral cancer is a common illness that can be better handled if identified early on. Patients should learn about harmful behaviors that enhance their chances of developing oral cancer. This will help them make better judgments regarding lifestyle choices and preventative actions. If you have not had an oral cancer screening in a long time, reach out to the dental office.
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