Oral Cancer Screening Is Required To Identify Cancers In the Mouth

Oral Cancer Screening Is Required To Identify Cancers In the Mouth

Screening for oral cancer is an examination that is performed by a dentist or a doctor to identify signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. The objective of oral cancer screening is to identify cancer in the mouth early as it provides the best chances for a cure.

Who Should Be Approached For The Screening

An oral cancer screening dentist along with most other dentists examines during a dental visit also screen for oral cancer. Additional tests may be used by some dentists to help in identifying areas where abnormal cells are growing in your mouth.

Disagreements exist among medical organizations on whether healthy people free from risk factors of mouth cancer need to undergo oral cancer screening. The risk of dying from oral cancer does not diminish by the screening. However, you and your dentist may decide that a special test is appropriate for you based on your risk factors.

Why Is The Screening Conducted?

As mentioned earlier the objective of the screening is to detect mouth cancer or any precancerous lesions that could potentially lead to mouth cancer at an early stage. Cancerous lesions that exist in the mouth are easiest to remove and cure when they are detected early. Studies conducted have not proved that oral cancer screening can save lives and therefore many organizations agree that an oral examination for cancer is not always beneficial. However, you may discuss your risk factors with the dentist for oral cancer screening in Phoenix AZ to understand whether you need to undergo the testing.

Who Is At Risk For Oral Cancer?

People with a high risk of oral cancer are the ones mentioned below:

  • People using tobacco in any form including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and other verities.
  • People who may be abusing alcohol excessively.
  • People who may have been diagnosed with conditions of oral cancer.
  • People that have a significant history of exposure to the sun which can increase the risk of lip cancer.

People belonging to the above-mentioned groups will do well to contact their dentist in Phoenix to ask him or her whether they should be screening themselves for this problem. They must also attempt to understand whether they can reduce the risks of oral cancer by adopting methods such as quitting smoking or not consuming alcohol. However, refusing to undergo an oral cancer screening test would be a folly that people should attempt to avoid. Your Phoenix dentist will advise you on how you should prepare for the screening because it will be performed during your routine dental appointment.

What Can Be Expected During the Screening

During the oral cancer screening test, your dentist will be looking over the inside of your mouth to check for red and white patches or mouth sores. He or she will be using gloved hands to feel the tissues in your mouth for checking any lumps or abnormalities which may exist. You would be requested to remove any partial or full dentures during the test for checking the tissue underneath them. You will not be required to prepare beforehand for the screening because it will be part of your routine dental examination.

Some dentists may use additional tests along with the oral exam to screen for oral cancer. Evidence about whether these tests can offer benefits over the oral exam or not is unavailable. The special screening for cancer may involve:

  • Rinsing your mouth before the exam with a special blue dye to color any abnormal cells in your mouth with the dye.
  • Shining a light in your mouth during the exam. The light can make healthy tissue look dark and abnormal tissue appear white.

The Results

If a discovery is made by your dentist of any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions you may be recommended the following:

  • A repeat visit in a few weeks to understand if the abnormal area is still present and to determine whether it has grown or changed over time.
  • A biopsy may also be recommended to collect a sample of the cells to be tested in the laboratory to determine whether cancerous cells are present. The biopsy may be performed by your dentist or even a doctor who specializes in oral cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Getting yourselves screened for oral cancer will not harm you in any way but will provide the dentist an indication about whether you are susceptible to the risk factors associated with this problem. It is a test which is usually conducted as a preventive measure during your routine dental exams and therefore you should not be worried about the same.