Oral Cancer Screening – Everything You Must Know
Cancer is a deadly disease and oral cancer may not show symptoms at an early stage. Regular visits to the dentist and awareness about the disease may be helpful. Oral cancer screening is an option to diagnose oral cancer at an early stage or precancerous stage. The treatment becomes easier. Some medical institutes do not allow oral cancer screening before any symptoms are observed. Not just screening but no other oral exam has proven to prevent death. You cannot control death due to oral cancer but necessary steps must be taken to save lives as much as you can.
What is the Goal of This Screening?
The main goal of this screening is to identify precancerous lesions that may lead to cancer or mouth cancer at an early stage. Cancer or the lesions are easy to remove after this screening. This screening has a controversial list of benefits.
Factors Leading to Oral Cancer
Mouth cancer is caused due to different factors. You may have heard about them often. If you have any of the below-listed habits or issues, avoid them before it leads to this deadly disease. Oral cancer screenings in Houston are performed for the following factors that are responsible for oral cancer.
Excessive sun exposure is one of the major reasons that causes lip cancer yet unknown to people. Alcoholics have a high risk of cancer. Drinking too much alcohol becomes the reason for gum infections, the development of lesions, and leading to oral cancer.
Tobacco users are also exposed to mouth cancer. Any form of tobacco is injurious to health. Pipes, cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco gums are most commonly used. A genetic history of oral cancer is another reason.
You may have been diagnosed with lesions and the treatment was not perfect. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is another factor that is transmitted during sexual activity.
Routine dental exams and cleanings can be accompanied by an oral screening test as well. It will only help you be safe from cancer or cancer-causing agents.
What to Expect During the Screening
The screening test does not require any special preparation. Routine dental checkups may involve this exam. During the test, the dentist will take a close look at your mouth. He or she may even physically check the muscles with a gloved hand. You have to remove the dentures so that the dentist can take a deeper look at the tissues. Lumps in the throat or neck are also checked.
Dentists also go for additional exams for better diagnosis of oral cancer. The special tests may include several things. Oral cancer screening dye in which your mouth is stained with blue color. Cancerous outgrowths absorb the color and appear blue.
A light beam may be used as well. The cancerous outgrowths appear white whereas the normal cells appear dark red.
Are There Any Risks Involved In Screening Exam
There are certain risk factors that dentists and patients avoid oral screen testing. Here are some of those risk factors.
Some people have sores in the mouth naturally. An oral cancer screening cannot distinguish if the sores are cancerous or noncancerous. This means that some additional tests become compulsory.
A small lesion or cancerous outgrowth may be left undetected in this screening exam. Either you live with it or additional tests are prescribed. As said earlier, oral cancer screening cannot save lives. It has never proved to be a life savior. That is why some dentists do not choose the screening exam.
What If Cancer is Diagnosed
If you have been diagnosed with lesions or cancer-causing agents in the mouth, your dentist will recommend two things:
First, he or she will schedule a follow-up visit. In this meeting, all the details of the treatment and aftercare will be discussed with you. The dentist will also observe if the cancerous agent has grown or not.
Second, he or she will recommend a biopsy. In this treatment, a sample of your tissues is taken for a better diagnosis of cancer. Maybe your doctor has specialized in the diagnosis or you may be referred to another doctor.
Dentists at Vesna Arezina DDS have the expertise to perform accurate oral cancer screening. We will assist you with the procedure and the treatment if required. Contact us now for an oral cancer screening today!