October 1, 2023
In 2021, 54,010 cases of oral cancer were discovered in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization estimated that more than 54,000 cases would develop in 2022. With all cancer cases, diagnosing the problem early and beginning treatment right away is crucial to a proper recovery. Oral cancer screenings can catch a problem early. The following is helpful information about screenings for oral cancer and their necessity for a healthy and happy life.
An oral cancer screening is a routine examination a doctor performs on patients to judge the likelihood of them developing oral cancer. Dentists can efficiently perform the test during a person's regular dental checkup or before or after a procedure. Specialists typically use their hands and eyes to examine the oral cavity. However, some professionals may use more extensive testing to check for cell abnormalities. The average screening takes fewer than 15 minutes and is not painful or uncomfortable.
An eight-step screening covers the 14 major areas of the oral cavity. Usually, the examiner will look at the mucosa and gingiva first and the lip second. The buccal mucosa and posterior gingiva are next, followed by the vestibule, anterior gingiva, and lower mucosa.
The examiner will then move to the hard palate, soft palate, and tonsillar area. The final areas that will be examined include the mouth floor, ventral tongue surface, and lateral tongue border.
Oral cancer screening is essential because of the speed at which cancer progresses, and regular screenings can catch the early signs so that affected patients can get the treatment they need to stop the progression. Oral cancer is one of the most lethal forms of cancer, according to dental experts, but the survival rate can be as high as 84 percent for patients who have examiners detect their malignancies in the early stages.
A person in the early stages of oral cancer may suffer various physical and visual symptoms. Some of the most common signs of the condition are a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, and vocal changes. Ear problems may also become apparent for a person who has oral cancer. Furthermore, some individuals can experience sudden pain in any area of the oral cavity that ceases to subside.
When a dental professional performs an oral screening, he or she looks for visual signs such as physical lumps or bumps within the cavity. An abnormal thickening or swelling of the membranes can also indicate a case of developing oral cancer. Another common disease symptom is red, white, or velvet-colored specs. Some patients may have lesions in their mouths as well. Lesions are painful sores that appear within the oral cavity for unexplained reasons. They cause a sufferer immense difficulty while eating, drinking, brushing the teeth, and rinsing.
Specialists can use various methods to treat an oral cancer case. The technique will depend on how advanced the cancer is and the likelihood of the person's full recovery. Lifestyle changes such as smoking and tobacco cessation can be a huge help, and dietary changes can help the body to ward off cancer. Some cases require the surgical removal of the affected area. The prognosis is suitable for those with mild developments.
Aggressive oral cancer cases may require the use of radiation therapy. This process uses energy beams to destroy the cancerous cells and eliminate their reproduction ability.
Other options may be available for the treatment of early cancer diagnoses.
Anyone can benefit from an oral screening for cancer. Generally, dentists like to begin checks at the age of 18. However, proactive parents can request the examination for a younger child. It might be the best practice to wait until the child can sit comfortably while the examiner checks all mouth areas to prevent fearful reactions. An older child who can understand mild language will most likely get through an examination with a personable dentist.
Now that you know the importance of early detection of oral cancer, you can take steps to have a professional examine you or your child for it. Baker Pediatric Dentistry provides services for young people of all ages. The doctor is family-oriented and loves giving children the preventative and comprehensive treatment they need. You can arrange a first-time meeting to talk to the doctor about a cancer screening for your child today.