Reasons to Have an Oral Cancer Screening
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, every hour a person succumbs to the effects of oral cancer, 24 hours a day.
Furthermore, approximately 54,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and about 9,700 people die. Oral cancer accounts for more than 8% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States.
OCF states that the rise in cases is not a lack of diagnostic tools but late detection. This can be attributed to the lack of interest in cancer screening.
What is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the mouth, throat, or tonsils. It can also develop in the salivary glands, lips, and tongue. Oral cancer screening is a method of detecting oral cancers at an early stage. The primary purpose of this oral cancer screening is to identify any lesions that could turn into an oral tumor. This allows patients to get treatment before it’s too late. Oral cancer screenings are recommended for all adults, regardless of their risk factors. It is important to remember that early oral cancer is detection can improve the quality of life.
Why Should You Get Regular Oral Cancer Screening?
There are several reasons why you may need oral cancer screenings in Coopersburg, PA, and they include:
- Early detection increases chances of recovery
Oral cancer develops without symptoms in the early stages. When you notice symptoms, it means the disease is well advanced in the stage. The best way to detect any precancerous tumors is to get regular screening. The dentist will develop a treatment plan to remove the cancerous cells and improve your health.
- The cases of oral cancer are increasing.
Most people assume that oral cancer affects only people who smoke and the older generation, but that is not the case.
In recent years, oral cancer cases have been surging, especially in young people. This has been attributed to the Human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus. HPV is thought to increase the risk of oral cancer in people between 25 and 50 years.
- Oral cancer screening is noninvasive.
Oral cancer screening starts with a doctor performing a visual and a physical exam. The physical exam involves touching the throat, neck, and jaw to check for immobile cells or tumors. The dentist will perform a visual exam using light and a mirror to look into your mouth and check for lacerations, white and red patches, and other signs or symptoms of oral cancer.
The dentist can also use VELscope to examine your mouth. This is a handheld scope that uses fluorescence light to enhance the screening and detect abnormal tissues that are not visible to the naked eye.
If they see anything abnormal, the dentist will take a biopsy sample from that area. A biopsy is a test that involves examining the tissue for any cancerous or precancerous lesions.
What are the Limitations of Oral Cancer Screening?
The limitations of oral cancer screening are:
- The screening test is not a diagnostic tool, and it may not detect smaller lesions or precancerous cells.
- Some false positives can occur during testing, leading to unnecessary procedures and treatments.
- The cost of the test is high for the average person, and it may be prohibitively expensive for some people who cannot afford it or do not have insurance coverage for it.
Who is at Risk of Developing Oral Cancer?
The American Dental Association reports that about 78% of oral cancers are caused by tobacco use. Other risk factors for oral cancer include age, genetics, HPV infection, and certain medical conditions like diabetes and sickle cell disease.
How Can Oral Cancer Be Treated?
There are many types of treatment for oral cancer, and it’s best to discuss the options with your doctor. The most common treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
How Can You prevent Oral Cancer?
Prevention of oral cancer can be done by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco use, and drinking alcohol in moderation. You should also schedule regular dental examinations to check for any signs of oral cancer or other health problems.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Coopersburg Dental for more information about oral cancer screening and what you can expect.