Oral Cancer Screening
Any cancer that develops in the oral cavity is known as oral cancer. Oral cancer can affect your lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, or roof and floor of the mouth. As with other cancers, oral cancer begins with abnormal mutations of cells in your oral cavity. Several factors may trigger these mutations. The mutations result in abnormal growth of cells, which is what we know as cancer.
Oral cancer can affect anybody, regardless of age, or background. The most effective defense against oral cancer is frequent oral cancer screenings. During these screenings, our dentist can identify early signs of cancer, if any, and help you get treatment for the same while there’s plenty of time for successful intervention.
If you’re and looking for oral cancer screening near you, book an appointment today with Golden Family Dentistry. Our dentist offers comprehensive oral cancer checks that will give you the assurance and peace of mind you need or enable you to get treated early enough, depending on the outcome.
What Happens During Your Appointment?
During your appointment at Golden Family Dentistry, our dentist will look out for signs that may be indicative of precancerous conditions. These include:
- Presence of red or white patches or lesions in your mouth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Difficulties when chewing and swallowing
- Pain in your neck, chin and ear areas
- Lumps or swellings
- Inability to move your jaw or tongue
Our dentist may use a special dye to highlight any cancer cells in your mouth. Cancer cells absorb this special dye, thus becoming more visible to the naked eye. Further, an oral cancer screening light which lights up abnormal tissues or cells may be used.
If our dentist notices any worrisome symptoms, the next step will be for you to get a biopsy. Oral cancer screenings aren’t diagnostic—only a biopsy can confirm the presence of cancer with certainty.
Oral cancer screenings are part of your annual dental exam. However, we encourage our patients to book impromptu oral cancer screenings if they’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. You don’t have to wait until it’s time for your annual dental exam, as this waiting period may hamper your chances of successful treatment.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Everyone must get checked for oral cancer on an annual basis, as oral cancer can affect anyone.
Specific individuals have a higher risk for oral cancer, based on their genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices. The risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Use of tobacco—this includes chewing, smoking or snorting tobacco
- Excessive drinking
- Family or personal history of cancer
- Significant sun exposure
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) diagnosis
- Compromised immune system
If you fall into the high-risk category based on the factors above, you should be particularly vigilant about getting regular oral cancer screening. When detected early, oral cancer is treatable through chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.