What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
The purpose of an oral cancer screening is to try and identify cancer in its earliest stages. Early detection of oral cancer can provide a better opportunity to seek treatment that is effective. Patients who are more at risk of oral cancer should consider an annual oral cancer screening.
Everything to know about an oral cancer screening
Anyone who is nervous before an oral cancer screening can benefit from knowing more about what to expect during the visit. The following is an overview of what an oral cancer screening is and who should strongly consider visiting the dentist for one.
The oral cancer screening process
Every dentist or oncologist may have their own process for an oral cancer screening, but there are certain steps that are commonly involved. Many dental professionals will check for signs of oral cancer during a routine dental visit, but a screening is performed to check more thoroughly for signs of cancer. The process typically involves the following:
- Examine the inside of the mouth
- Feels tissue to check for lumps
- Throat and neck evaluation
- The OralCDx Brush Test®
If there are any concerns that suggest a tumor is present, then they may order a biopsy and other additional tests.
Risk factors of oral cancer
Many medical professionals debate the importance of oral cancer screenings for individuals who do not meet one or more of the risk factors. However, those who do should strongly consider regular oral cancer screenings. The more notable risk factors of oral cancer include:
- Age 55 and older
- Tobacco users
- Heavy alcohol use
Most who have oral cancer are over the age of 55. It also affects men twice as much as it affects women. Additionally, tobacco use and excessive use of alcohol may increase the risk of oral cancer. A sexually transmitted disease known as human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered a risk factor as well.
When to consider an oral cancer screening
Be sure to talk to a dentist or primary care doctor about whether or not to have an oral cancer screening scheduled. Most who meet multiple risk factors will likely need regular screenings. For example, men over the age of 55 or men who use tobacco products regularly can benefit from an oral cancer screening. With that said, a general dentist should also check for signs of oral cancer during a routine checkup, although it is not entirely conclusive.
How to reduce the risk of oral cancer
To reduce the risk of oral cancer, consider limiting or stopping the use of tobacco products and drinking alcohol. Excessive sun exposure and a poor diet may also contribute to the risk of oral cancer, so wearing sunscreen and eating a healthy diet may also reduce the risk of developing oral cancer.
Schedule an oral cancer screening today
Reach out today to learn more about the oral cancer screening process and what to expect. Additionally, an appointment can be scheduled to get a screening done!
Are you considering an oral cancer screening in the Dallas area? Get more information at https://www.highlandsdentaldallas.com.
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