Oral Cancer Screening at Bellevue Family Dentistry in Green Bay, WI
Oral cancer screening is an examination through which signs of cancer or precancerous conditions are looked for in your mouth by a dental professional. Oral cancer can be dangerous if not diagnosed and treated early. Therefore, oral cancer screening aims to discover mouth cancer early.
Cancer is an uncontrollable division and growth of abnormal cells, which invade and destroy body tissues. Oral cancer is a type of cancer that develops in any part of the mouth. Oral cancer first appears as a sore or lumpy growth in the mouth that refuses to go away. It includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palates, sinuses, and Pharynx. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
Causes Of Oral Cancer
Abstinence from the known causes of oral cancer does not guarantee you are safe from it. But it does reduce the chances of you getting it.
The known leading cause of oral cancer is smoking. People who smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc., are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancer.
Smokeless tobacco users who use dip, snuff, or chew tobacco products are more likely to develop oral cancer. Again, one might think they are safe since it doesn’t involve inhaling smoke. But this set of people are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lip linings.
Regular excessive intake of alcohol also increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Drinkers are six times more liable to develop oral cancer than non-drinkers.
HPV, Human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted disease said to increase the chances of developing oral cancer. In addition, certain HPV strains are etiologic risk factors for Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC).
A history of excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age, increases the risk of lip cancer.
Finally, a family history of cancer or a previous oral cancer diagnosis can increase your chances of developing oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer can have some symptoms associated with it. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
Pain. Pain when swallowing. Pain in the ears, mouth, and face.
Lumpy growth. There might be lumps/bumps, rough spots, or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
There might be a change in how your teeth or dentures.
There might be difficulties speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue and jaw.
There might be loss of feeling in the affected areas, persistent sores refusing to heal, cough, and other difficulties.
What To Expect During An Oral Cancer Screening
Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam during a routine dental exam. But during a screening exam, your dentist will specifically feel for irregular lumps in your neck, face, and oral cavities. Your dentist also looks for signs of sores and discolored tissues in your mouth.
What Can I Do To Prevent Oral Cancer?
Visit the dentist regularly for dental cleanings, x-rays, and exams.
Avoid smoking and use tobacco products to the best of your ability. Drink in moderation and limit sun exposure (or use protective lotion).
Finally, conduct self-examinations and alert your dentist anytime you see or feel a symptom of oral cancer.
You might eliminate the risks of developing oral cancer by doing these.