Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is one of the most important aspects of oral cavity health. It is simple and noninvasive typically taking less than fifteen minutes to complete. During the screening, we will evaluate and examine every part of the patient’s mouth. We will look for any suspicious-looking areas which might be indicative of oral cancer. We provide the screenings during the bi-annual cleanings however we can perform one at any time the patient would like. Perhaps they have found something while brushing and flossing and wanted a professional opinion. The main reason screening is considered so important is because of the progressive nature of oral cancer. The best treatment outcomes are those that started at the earliest stages of the disease, which is why it is important to identify it as soon as possible.
Most patients know what oral cancer is but are unaware that it not only affects the teeth and gums but other tissue in the mouth including the throat and tongue. Come see us today at Alki Dental for an oral cancer screening when we can provide you with treatment information if warranted.
What Makes Someone High Risk?
There are specific factors that make some patients at a higher risk of developing oral cancer than others. It is the same for many different medical conditions. With regard to oral cancer risks, any patient who uses tobacco products has a much higher risk of developing it than those who do not. This includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes as well as using smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. Another risk factor concerns those patients who abuse alcohol or who have long-term exposure to direct sunlight.
Any patient who has an odd-looking section of tissue in their mouth should contact us as soon as possible for a proper evaluation to determine whether or not it is cancerous. In many instances, the symptoms might manifest themselves in very obvious ways while in others more testing might be warranted.
Should I Be Screened?
The American Dental Association suggests that every patient has an oral cancer screening done at least once a year. It is important to detect any cancerous cells as soon as possible. If left untreated, oral cancer can easily infect the lymph nodes found along the underside of the lower jaw. Once infected, cancer can easily spread by way of the lymphatic system which can compromise the entire body.
What Does a Cancer Screening Involve?
While most times it is impossible to diagnose oral cancer visually there are obvious signs of cancerous cells. These include the appearance of discolored areas of the mouth or lumpy growths. Biopsies are necessary to determine if any suspect tissue is cancerous. In recent years oral cancer diagnoses have increased significantly due to the rise in the number of patients diagnoses with the human papillomavirus or HPV which is a sexually transmitted disease.
Whether a patient is nervous about some odd tissue in their mouth or just wants to get an oral screening to ensure they are maintaining their oral health, they should contact us by phone 206-791-2020.