What is Oral Cancer Screening, Its Process & Advantages
Oral cancer is a severe condition that can be fatal when not detected and treated early. Early detection and treatment increase the patient’s survival rates significantly. Therefore it is crucial to go for oral cancer screening near you regularly. Continue reading to learn about the procedure and benefits of this examination.
What is Oral Cancer Screening?
It is an examination carried out by a dentist to detect signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. Oral cancer screening helps to reduce the risk of disfigurement or death from mouth cancers. The screening covers your oral cavity and connected tissues. It is usually performed during routine dental checkups twice yearly.
Why Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening?
You have probably heard of oral cancer but never know why you need to be screened for the condition. Below are some reasons you need oral cancer screening near you:
- Cancerous cells multiply and spread when not treated. The longer they remain in your body, the further the disease progresses and becomes harder to treat. Fortunately, when you get screened, they can be caught when easily treatable.
- Oral cancer symptoms negatively impact your quality of life. When you get screened, the expert will identify and treat the condition easing any symptoms.
- Presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) increases the risk for oral cancer. You need to get screened for oral cancer since HPV cases have surged in recent decades.
- You need oral cancer screening if you have certain risk factors for the disease. They include using tobacco products and taking alcohol excessively. People exposed to the sun often or with a family history of cancer should also need screening.
What is the Step-By-Step Procedure for Getting Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is performed during routine dental checkups. So, you do not need to prepare before the exam. Below are the general steps of the evaluation by our dentist in Plano, TX:
- The dentist will remove any removable dental appliances, such as dentures or braces. This allows them to access and examine the entire mouth.
- They will use a special light, tongue depressor, and mirror to perform a visual exam. These will enable them to observe the mouth, face, neck, lips, jaw, cheeks, and inside of your nose. This step helps them look for unusual mouth sores and patches of color which indicate cancer.
- Next, they will request you to open your mouth wide so they can hold down your tongue. As a result, tissues in your throat are easily examined.
- After the visual exam, they will use gloved hands to feel the tissues in your mouth. They will also feel around your neck for bumps, growths, lumps, or swellings.
- If they find signs of oral cancer, they will perform further tests. They may use a special blue dye or fluorescence staining to observe the tissues. These exams help the dentist know if the cells are cancerous or can become cancerous.
- When the expert finds more indications of the disease, they will perform a biopsy. It involves collecting cells from unusual tissues and sending them to a lab for tests. If they verify that you have oral cancer, our dentist near you in Plano, TX will send you to a cancer specialist. The specialist will determine the stage of your cancer and provide appropriate treatments.
What are the Benefits of Getting Oral Cancer Screening?
Below are prominent reasons for getting oral cancer screening:
- The exams are painless and do not require the administration of anesthesia or sedation.
- Your dentist does the screening during annual dental checkups saving you time.
- Oral cancer screening is fast and can be done within ten minutes. However, if any issues are found, you will need further diagnosing.
- The cost of oral cancer screening is covered by dental insurance. You will not need to pay for the exam out of your pocket.
- The exam has no side effects on your oral or overall health. You can resume your usual routine right away.
Get Oral Cancer Screening Near You
Malignant cancerous tissues inside the mouth and throat are not easily detected. By the time you start experiencing the symptoms of oral cancer, the disease will have spread. You can prevent this by scheduling your appointment for an oral cancer screening at SS Dental!