Oral cancer is diagnosed in more than 50,000 people every year. This number is likely higher, however, because the disease is often not diagnosed until the later stages. Oral cancer can start on the tongue, lips, or gums. If not diagnosed early, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, neck, and head. Oral cancer can also spread to the lungs, liver, and bones.
Who needs oral cancer screenings?
Anyone with a higher risk of oral cancer should undergo oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer screenings are especially important for the following patients:
- People who drink alcohol excessively
- People who use tobacco products
- People who use human papillomavirus (HPV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medications
How does oral cancer screening work?
Your dentist is likely to recommend an oral cancer screening if you’re at risk for the condition. This screening may happen during your regular checkup or during your routine cleaning. During this, your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, throat, and other soft tissues. Using special lights, your dentist will be able to see any potential abnormalities that may indicate oral cancer.
The earlier oral cancer is detected, the better your chances are of treating it and surviving it. An oral cancer screening is quick and painless, and it could save your life. Once your screening is complete, the following steps would be:
1. We send the results of your screening to your dentist or physician.
2. We schedule a follow-up visit with you.
3. We discuss with you your results and next steps in case the presence of cancer is confirmed.
Who should perform your oral cancer screening?
Your oral healthcare professional is highly trained in detecting the early signs of oral cancer. They check for sores, discolored tissue, lumps, and thickening. The dentist or hygienist is one of the most important people to see for oral cancer screening. However, your primary care physician and radiologists should also be a part of your oral cancer screening team.
Oral cancer screenings are an integral part of your regular dental checkups. Early detection of oral cancer is extremely beneficial in increasing the survival rate of the condition. Due to the nature of oral cancer, screening is much more beneficial than early detection.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Cochise Caring Dentistry, call (520)-458-1989 or schedule an online consultation. You can Visit us at 66 North Garden Ave, Sierra Vista, AZ