Oral Cancer Screening
The U.S. diagnoses about 50,000 oral cancer cases yearly, with oral cancer taking the lives of at least 8,000, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Some of the cases are realized at their late stages, leaving little room for rectification. The question of how often you should undergo an oral cancer screening comes in. As you plan for your next dental appointment, make sure an oral cancer screening is done. You can visit our dental clinic for an oral cancer screening at Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS where you will receive the best guide concerning the results.
Warning Signs That Prompt Need for an Oral Cancer Screening
Detecting oral cancer at an early stage increases the chances of recovering fully upon treatment. Sadly, most people do not realize that they are ailing until the final stages. The oral cancer signs and symptoms to watch for include: lumps, numbness, thick matter, difficulty in swallowing, and chewing, to mention a few. Do not hesitate to request an oral cancer screening at the onset of these symptoms.
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Diagnosing oral cancer earlier makes it more manageable, and shortens the recovery period. You should, therefore, make it a practice to have regular oral cancer screenings. You can also take preventive measures once the dentist determines you are free from oral cancer.
What to Expect During the Screening
If you are testing for the first time, the dentist will go through your dental and medical history to gather information and assess any risk factors you may have.
The oral cancer screening process involves an oral examination of the inner and outer mouth, and the head and neck. The dentist will seek to identify the presence of any lumps or swelling, which could be a point of concern. In some cases, we may recommend further testing.
Who is at a Higher Risk?
According to the American Cancer Society, age groups above 40 have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. People in this age group should, therefore, have oral cancer screenings performed annually. Exposure to risk factors such as smoking, excessive sun exposure, poor diet, genetic oral cancer history, excess alcohol usage, and exposure to the HPV virus also increases the risk of contracting oral cancer. It is also important to note that you can develop oral cancer despite being free from these risk factors.
Care After Diagnosis
A diagnosis of oral cancer can be frightening. Diagnosis is not the end of the road. It enables you to live healthily by practicing the guidelines given to you. The dentist will advise you on the medication and care routine practices ensuring a quick recovery. You will also have to undergo more oral cancer screening sessions to determine the healing process until they declare you free of the oral cancer. It is a manageable process that should not scare you.
AtAlexandra Garcia, DDS, MS we perform oral cancer screenings as part of our routine dental exams. If you are in need of an exam or oral cancer screening, please contact us today at (346) 250-2930.