No one wants to think about cancer. It is a very scary disease and there is a lot of misinformation about it. There are many different ways that cancer can affect the body. Oral cancer is one of those ways.
Cancer can happen to anyone. There are different factors which may suggest a person is more susceptible to cancer. Genetics, the environment and the daily habits that an individual has will play a role in how at risk a person is. Every type of cancer is different and the ability to treat the cancer will also vary. The one thing that always makes it easier to treat cancer is to detect it in its early stages. When it comes to oral cancer, the use of oral cancer screenings grants the ability to catch it early.
What Are Oral Cancer Screenings?
Oral cancer screenings are designed to detect the possibility of oral cancer before there are any symptoms realized by the individual. The most common form of screening is a visual screening. This type of screening is performed by a dentist that has had training in the field of oral cancer. It is often a part of any comprehensive dental exam that a person should undergo annually.
The first part of the screening is getting an accurate history of the patient. This will include any relatives that may have suffered from cancer and the history of the patient themselves. This information will help a dentist determine if someone is at greater risk for oral cancer.
The visual screening involves looking at the mouth, gums, cheeks and teeth for any signs of abnormalities. The dentist will be looking for red or white patches or for sores in the mouth. They will inspect the cheeks and gums for any lumps or other abnormalities. It is normal for a person to develop sores in the mouth and is not necessarily a sign of cancer. It is impossible for a dentist to tell whether a sore in the mouth is cancerous or not. A dentist will make a decision about whether to do additional testing on any sores they find in the mouth.
The only way to tell for sure if a sore is cancerous is through a biopsy. This involves removing some of the tissue and examining it under a microscope for any cancer cells. This is not a difficult test and it is relatively painless to undergo.
What Is The Best Method For Screening?
While visual and digital screening for oral cancer is the most common technique, there are some ways that a person can make it even more effective. If a person has developed oral cancer, there will be changes in the mouth and gums. If a person has been seeing their dentist and is getting regular screenings, the dentist will know the history of the individual. It will be easier for them to spot changes that have occurred and they will be able to make a better judgment about the seriousness of the changes they notice. Consistent screening is the best way an individual can help to prevent and detect oral cancer.