Dentists | The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Dentists| If left undiagnosed and untreated, oral cancer can be life-threatening. Oral cancer includes cancers of the cheeks, lips, palate, sinuses, throat, and floor of the mouth. Oral cancer screenings are exams performed by your dentist to looks for signs of precancerous conditions or symptoms of cancer in these areas. You have a greater chance for a cure if oral cancer can be detected early.
Why Get One?
People who run a higher risk of oral cancer may benefit more from frequent oral cancer screenings. Certain factors can increase your risk for oral cancer, including tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, a history or heavy sun exposure, or a previous oral cancer diagnosis. You can consult your doctor about whether or not your personal conditions would make regular oral cancer screening beneficial.
Dentists will usually perform a visual screening of your mouth during your routine visits and cleanings. If they detect any areas that show concern, they may order additional tests to identify any abnormal cells. A biopsy procures may even be performed in some cases to test for cancerous cells.
There are few associated risks with an oral cancer screening. If your dentist shows a concern for something found during a screening, they may order more tests because there’s no way to determine which sores are and are not cancerous visually. Oral cancer screening may not be able to detect all cancers in the mouth. Because it’s only a visual and touch check, small lesions may go undetected.
Given these few risks, while oral cancer screenings may not prevent deaths, it can help detect oral cancers early, and in those cases, a cure is more likely.
If you are experiencing sores in your mouth, an oral cancer screening may be a good idea. Consult your dentist about whether or not an exam is right for you. Call Solomon Dentistry at 843-871-0842.