Are Oral Cancer Screenings Mandatory? Do Dentists Recommend to Check

Are Oral Cancer Screenings Mandatory? Do Dentists Recommend to Check

Apr 01, 2023

Did you know that oral cancer is one of the cancers that can be treated? Although many people have succumbed to oral cancer, it is a treatable condition that does not need to threaten your life. Perhaps the secret to surviving oral cancer is oral cancer screening.

What is Oral Cancer?

It is a type of cancer that affects the oral features and the surrounding areas. Oral cancer can target various parts of the mouth, so there are different types of cancer, including the following:

  1. Tongue cancer
  2. Lip cancer
  3. Throat cancer
  4. Cancer of the roof or floor of the mouth

​What Is the Main Cause of Oral Cancer?

Dental experts have yet to determine the specific cause of oral cancer. Instead, many of them point to oral habits, like smoking, as the leading causes of oral cancer. Dentists in Burney, CA, have found that smokers are up to 50% more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers.

​What Is a Risk Factor for Oral Cancer?

Dentists have come up with a couple of risk factors that can lead to oral cancer, including the following:

  1. A previous cancer diagnosis – if you have had cancer before, it may be possible for it to reappear in your mouth even if you were intermission.
  2. Genetics – if you have a family member or relative that has had oral cancer before, you are at a higher risk of getting mouth cancer than the average person.
  3. Excessive alcohol consumption – like tobacco, alcohol can be damaging to your oral tissues and general health. Drunkards have a high risk of oral cancer than people who do not take alcohol.

What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

It is an evaluative test that a dentist conducts to check your mouth for any precancerous cells. An oral cancer check dentist typically performs this test in patients with a high risk of mouth cancer. They are periodical examinations that can help you escape the life-threatening complications of oral cancer. While oral cancer screenings are not mandatory, dentists recommend them because they understand the value of early diagnosis in managing health issues like cancer.

When Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screenings near you are not limited to a specific few. Instead, they are available to all patients that need to keep tabs on their dental health, particularly high-risk patients. Some of the symptoms that can indicate that you need oral cancer screening are:

  1. Lumps and bumps in your mouth
  2. Numbness in portions of your mouth
  3. A hoarse and sore throat
  4. Noticeable swellings and lumps on your neck
  5. Reddish or whitish velvety patches in the mouth
  6. Mouth sores that do not heal
  7. Dental pain that spreads to other parts like the ears and eyes

​Will Oral Cancer Screening Be Worthwhile?

The first thing we tell our patients at Fall River Valley Dentist about oral cancer screening is that it does not treat cancer. It is simply a test to help detect signs of cancer in the early stages when treatment is most successful. However, just because the screening test will not cure your cancer does not mean that it is not effective or necessary. Some of the benefits of oral cancer screening are:

  1. Distinguishing between oral cancer and other dental issues – some signs of oral cancer can look similar to those of gum disease or other bacterial infections. A screening exam will help the dentist tell them apart.
  2. Early oral cancer treatment – unfortunately, way too many people lose their lives to oral cancer even when it is treatable. Oral cancer screening will help you know when to seek treatment before the symptoms worsen.
  3. Curbing the spread of cancer – cancer is one of the health complications that spreads quickly in the body. Cancer in your mouth can easily translate to body cancer. A cancer screening can be the beginning of your treatment so that you stop the spread of the disease.
  4. Identifying high-risk patients – you will never know you are at a high risk of oral cancer until your dentist brings it up.
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