During your next checkup, you may want to have an oral cancer screening to see if you are at risk of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings are designed to try to catch the early signs of oral cancer before they progress to a more advanced stage.
Oral cancer screenings are important because oral cancer can be successfully treated if caught early enough. Approximately 84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by a dental health professional. At 123 Dentist, we have many methods of detecting early signs of oral cancer with the newest, state of the art technology.
When your dentist does an oral cancer screening, they use many tools to look for any discolouration or mouth sores in your mouth. They then feel the tissues around your mouth for lumps or abnormalities. If they detect any form of abnormality in your mouth, they will send a sample of it to a lab for further testing.
How do I know if I’m at risk for oral cancer?
Here are some key risk factors for oral cancer to help you determine if you are at risk:
- Age (People over 40 are more at risk)
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Gender (Men are more susceptible than women)
- An unhealthy diet
- Prologued sun exposure
Although it is proven that people who have been diagnosed with oral cancer usually have at least one of these risk factors, there is a growing rate of people that are diagnosed with oral cancer who have no risk factors at all. Therefore, if you don’t have any of the factors above, oral cancer screenings are still important in maintaining your overall health.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
When a dentist does an oral cancer screening, they look out for the following symptoms:
- Red or white patches in your mouth
- Spots that continuously bleed or don’t heal
- A lump or a hard spot in your mouth
- Numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
Oral Cancer Treatment and Prevention
The best way to prevent oral cancer is through regular oral cancer screenings during your checkups. Your dentist won’t be able to diagnose you during the exam, but they will send a sample of your tissue to a lab to determine if it is cancer.
Once a dentist receives the lab results confirming oral cancer, they can start to treat the cancer before it progresses. Stop by a 123 Dentist office today to get your oral cancer screening!