Oral cancer is one of those cancers that can be treated if detected in advance. And the reality is that head and neck cancers are more prevalent than ever and having regular oral screening performed by your dentist or dental hygienist could save your life.
- Oral cancers are more common in men than women and evenly spread across the races.
- Due to the increased rates of HPV, oral cancers are more prevalent in younger populations.
- Poor nutrition and poor oral health can be linked to oral cancer. Risk factors:
- Tobacco smoking
- Betel nut/ tobacco chewing
- HPV exposure
- Sun exposure (lip cancers)
- Vaping: not much research is available, but some new research suggests that vaping can also lead to oral cancer.
Signs and symptoms
If you experience any of the following, consult your medical or dental professional immediately.
- A sore spot in the mouth that never heals.
- Pain in the mouth, head or neck that does not go away.
- An unexplained lump in the cheek.
- White or red patches in the mouth that do not resolve.
- An unexplained and continuous sore throat.
- Trouble chewing/ swallowing/ moving the jaw/ moving the tongue/ moving the neck
- A constant feeling that something is stuck in the throat.
- Bad breath.
- A change in voice.
Early detection of lesions can give more treatment options and can change the prognosis of oral cancer.
Moreover, proper oral cancer screening ensures increased awareness of risk factors and prevention strategies. This can reduce the anxiety and stress associated with the fear of developing oral cancer.
On the other hand, below are some additional facts about oral cancer screening. This process can include:
- The screening procedure usually involves visually examining the throat and the mouth.
- The dentist or physician will use a special tool to detect abnormalities in the mouth’s tissues.
- The dentist or physician may recommend further testing, such as a biopsy, if any abnormalities are detected.
- Oral cancer screening may not be 100% effective in detecting oral cancer cases. However, it may help identify oral cancer early, which is treatable.
- Preparations should be made before the oral cancer screening, such as brushing your teeth and flossing the night before your appointment, avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco, and bringing a list of all your medications.
If you want an in-depth understanding of oral cancer and the importance of screening, you can check out reliable online resources for more information.
Screening is essential to help detect oral cancer at the earliest time possible. Therefore, keep the information mentioned above in mind to know the fundamentals of this disease and the importance of nipping it in the bud.