Feb 16, 2022

How Frequently Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a condition featuring the overgrowth of cancerous cells in any part of the oral cavity. It can affect anyone regardless of age, but it is more prevalent among adults than children.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Cancer of the mouth results due to various factors. Since there is no particular cause of oral cancer, consider the following risk factors as contributors to getting cancer of the mouth:
  1. Genetics – if other members of your family have been diagnosed with oral cancer, you are highly likely to get it too.
  2. Having another type of cancer – patients who have previously been diagnosed with other types of body cancer are at a Hugh risk of getting oral cancer.
  3. Smoking and other tobacco usages – tobacco does not only damage your lungs or cause gum infection. Long-term use of tobacco substances can result in oral cancer.
  4. Excessive intake of alcohol – other than cirrhosis and other liver diseases, consuming a lot of alcohol over a long period can result in oral cancers like throat and gum cancer.
  5. Direct exposure to sunlight for long hours – exposes you to lip cancer.

Types of Oral Cancers

Oral cancers affect any area of your mouth. The common types of cancers are:
  1. Lips cancer
  2. Tongue cancer
  3. Throat cancer
  4. Cancer of the roof and floor of the mouth
  5. Gum cancer

​What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

The symptoms of oral cancer vary, depending on the type of cancer you have. They may mimic symptoms for other oral conditions, which is why you must prioritize oral cancer screening near you. Some symptoms of oral cancer to consider are:
  1. Mouth Sores and ulcers that do not heal but rather keep recurring.
  2. White and red velvety patches in your inner lips and cheeks.
  3. Bumps, limbs, and tumors in the mouth.
  4. Sore throat -ay make your voice hoarse, and cause difficulty swallowing.
  5. Pain and your jaw and swollen gums
  6. Loose teeth – without treatment, your teeth can begin to fall off.
  7. Bad breath – will be persistent even after brushing your teeth.

​What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

It is a type of test done to check the presence of precancerous cells in the mouth. The dental expert will examine your oral cavity to identify any signs and symptoms that may indicate oral cancer. Ideally, an oral cancer screening will only identify the likelihood of precancerous cells. However, for diagnosis, your dentist will need to conduct further tests, including a biopsy to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

How Can a Dentist Help You?

Although not everyone is at a high risk of getting oral cancer, we still recommend screening sessions to our patients. Screening tests are not just about having cancer but that a dentist can help you with your dental needs. Some of the benefits of visiting a dentist when it comes to managing and treating oral cancer are:
  1. Early diagnosis of oral cancer – oral cancer is treatable if caught early. However, many people succumb to oral cancer because they find it late. The benefit of visiting a dentist in 60805 is that he/she can help you detect any signs of cancer early.
  2. Getting a correct diagnosis – some symptoms of oral cancer closely resemble those of other oral infections. Unless you have visited a dentist, you can easily mistake oral cancer for gum disease.
  3. Identifying risk factors – some patients have a higher risk of getting oral cancer than others. When your dentist helps you identify the risk factors, you can make lifestyle changes to influence your health.
  4. Creating a medical record – dentists can only generate a medical record for you when you have been a patient for a consistent period. Usually, the medical record can help identify any risk factors that can increase your chances of getting oral cancer. Such medical records also account for your family history and preexisting health issues you may have.

How Often Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer screenings near you are available at any time of the year as a proactive measure for managing oral cancer. The frequency of screenings will depend on how high-risk a patient you are. Technically, you can get screening done once every year to ensure you have no traces of cancerous cells.

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