Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a noninvasive examination of our patient’s oral cavity. We will look for signs of unusual tissue growths, which may warrant further examination. These exams take place during the twice-yearly cleaning and only take a few minutes to complete. The reason oral cancer screening is important is to detect any cancer as early as possible when treatment options will yield the best results possible.
While the American Dental Association recommends oral cancer screening twice a year, other medical organizations have not come to a consensus concerning patients with no mouth cancer risk factors needing screening.
Most patients do not know oral cancer can affect their gums and teeth, as well as their throat and even tongue. Here at Cascade Dental Care, we feel the exam is far too important to not include it in the semi-annual professional cleanings. We will examine all soft tissue and make any recommendations if further testing is necessary.
Who is High Risk for Oral Cancer?
There are several factors which place a patient into a higher risk group for developing oral cancer. Anyone who smokes tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes are in the high-risk group, as well as those smoking e-cigarettes. Even smokeless tobacco users are at a higher risk of developing cancer. Those patients who abuse alcohol are also more likely to get oral cancer, as are those who have long term exposure to sunlight.
Any patient who discovers an odd area in their mouth, whether it is an outcropping of tissue or a discolored area of the gums, should notify our office immediately. This is the same for any patient who has severe pain while chewing or discovers loose teeth while performing their oral health regiment of flossing and brushing. They should be screened immediately for cancer.
Why Do I Need to be Screened?
Early detection is the key in treatment of any cancer and oral cancer is no different. If left undiscovered and untreated, oral cancer can easily spread to the lymph nodes beneath the mandible. Once in the lymphatic system the rest of the body is at risk for developing cancerous cells.
How is an Oral Cancer Screening Done?
While no one can diagnose cancer visually, cellular growths and discolored patches can be identified, and a biopsy can be performed to determine if it is benign or malignant. Oral cancer diagnoses have been on the rise in recent years. Many times, it is linked to the human papillomavirus which is a sexually transmitted disease.
Most times, patients do not even realize they have oral cancer because in its earliest stages it does not cause any pain or discomfort. When it progresses to the point of causing pain, the recommended treatment becomes considerably more complicated.
While you may have never had an oral cancer screening, why not come to our office at Cascade Dental Care for a professional cleaning and we can perform your screening. If you suspect you may have oral cancer, it is even more important to come in immediately for a proper screening. Give us a call at 360-916-4200 to schedule your next appointment and put your mind at ease with an oral cancer screening.