You probably know that it is vital to have a regular oral cancer screening. But you might not know how often you should get one. There are a few factors that will play into how often you should get screened. Your dentist can help you decide how often to get one. That will reduce your…
4 Reasons to Have an Oral Cancer Screening
When it comes to a person's overall health, cancer screenings are vital in many fields. In dentistry, this is just as important. It is crucial to a person's health to that ensure they are having a cancer screening on their mouth and oral cavity to ensure there are no problem areas.
During a person's bi-annual check-up and dental cleaning, the dentist will always perform a screening to see if there are any possibilities for oral cancer. Because of this possibility, be sure to always have your twice-yearly check-up with your dentist.
Why are oral cancer screenings done?
The entire goal of a dentist performing an oral cancer screening is to act as a preventative measure to detect any trouble spots or lesions that could lead to cancer later. If it is caught at an early stage, they can be easily removed.
It is suggested that people with a higher risk of developing oral cancer should have a cancer screening at least once per year. The different factors that lead to a higher likelihood of developing oral cancer include the following:
- A person who uses tobacco including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, as well as others.
- A person who heavily consumes alcohol.
- A person who has had a diagnosis of oral cancer in the past.
- A person who has had a significant amount of sun and UV exposure which can significantly increase the chances of lip-cancer.
Do people need to prepare for an oral cancer screening?
As far as if there is any preparation for having oral cancer screening, the answer is a simple “no.” There is no preparation that a patient needs to do before having a screening.
Additional tests for oral cancer?
In short, this will all depend on someone's dentist. Some use other tests in addition to the typical oral exam that is given to inspect the oral cavity. It is not clear if these tests provide any additional information or catch oral cancer earlier than the typical screening. However, for those who are more concerned or at a higher risk of developing cancer, it can be an added benefit.
What if there are signs of oral cancer?
If your dentist does find some areas of concern that they feel could be early stages of oral cancer, they may recommend one of the following:
#1 Schedule a follow-up visit: This will typically be scheduled for a few weeks out. This will give the dentist a chance to see the person back and as well as see if the area of concern is still there. Rather, if it was just a bump or lesion that has no reason for concern.
#2: A biopsy procedure: This can be done to remove a small portion of the cells, and it will be sent to a laboratory to be tested in order to determine if it is cancerous. Once the results are back, the dentist will contact you.
Have more questions about oral cancer screenings? Contact us today.
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