- January 11, 2019
- Posted by: Dr. Amit Gandhi
- Categories: CANCER, Uncategorized
A diagnosis of any kind of cancer is definitely no good news. No matter what kind of cancer it is, if left undiagnosed or untreated then definitely it will lead to death. But one thing many people don’t understand is that cancer is not the only reason for death. Yes, it is a fatal disease. But if it is diagnosed at an early stage then it can be fought off and cure completely.
The same holds true for oral cancer. This early diagnosis is the main reason why screening for oral cancer is important.
The oral cancer screening process is performed at a dentist’s office. Having a routine checkup of teeth and gums for oral cancer makes it possible to diagnose the ailment and cure it.
If the diagnosis process results positive, a set of a possible course of actions is performed that often include radiation therapy, chemotherapy treatment, or surgery.
So, if you want to catch oral cancer early, it is important that you get a screening done at your dentist each year.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is one of the highly common cancers that affect the structures and tissues of the throat and oral cavity. Though the main cause of this cancer is still unknown, usually it occurs in people consuming high amounts of tobacco, alcohol, and those having unhealthy eating habits.
The cancer is quite difficult to treat, but with oral cancer screenings, it is possible to detect the early signs of oral cancer and work with expert oncologists to get the necessary treatment before it becomes an inoperable and fatal ailment.
How Can You Know If You Are At Risk for Oral Cancer?
There are some key risk factors for oral cancer that will help you to identify if you are at risk of this ailment or not:
- Regular consumption of tobacco or smoking
- Among people over 40 years of age
- HPV or Human Papillomavirus
- Continuous Consumption of Alcohol
- Prolonged Sun Exposure
- Unhealthy Diet
Usually, it is proven that individuals diagnosed with oral cancer have at least one of these risk factors. There is an increasing rate of population that is diagnosed with this kind of cancer but have no such risk factors at all. Hence, even if you don’t have such risk factors, still it is possible that you may suffer from oral cancer. In this case, screenings are a great way to maintain your overall health.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer that You Need to Look For
Some of the symptoms that you must look for are as follows:
- White patches or red patches in the mouth
- Hard spot or lump in the mouth
- Spots that regularly bleed or don’t heal
- Pain or numbness when you bite down the teeth
What Happens During the Process of Oral Cancer Screening?
During the process of oral cancer screening, your dentist will carefully examine your head, neck, face, throat, or mouth for signs of the ailment. He will ask some questions to help identify whether or not you are witnessing any nonvisual warning symptoms of oral cancer.
The process of screening for oral cancer gets completed in just a few minutes. The best thing is that the process is absolutely pain-free and non-invasive.
Besides the above mentioned symptoms, the dentist would check more other signs for oral cancer, like:
- Bumps or lumps in the soft tissue
- Discoloration of soft tissue
- Hoarse Voice or Sore Throat
- Hardening or Swelling in the Lymph Nodes
- Changes within the Texture of Soft Tissues
Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening, If You Don’t Consume Tobacco?
Yes! While consumption of tobacco is one of the crucial risk factors for oral cancer, but it is not the only one. Around 25% of patients diagnosed with oral cancer each year are not involved in any sort of risk behavior associated with the deadly ailment.
The oral cancer screening process is like a routine dental checkup. Hence, you don’t have to be afraid of it. The dentist will palpate the jaw and neck area, analyze both sides of your tongue, and do a visual screening on the lips, gums, face, and teeth.
By ensuring that you visit your dentist on a regular basis, perform oral screenings and professional cleaning, it is possible to stay away from oral cancer or to diagnose it at an early stage. If it’s identified, then getting the right treatment will help you get rid of it before the problem becomes a significant threat to your overall health.