Oral cancer screenings are done by the dentists to try to catch potentially cancerous cells, or conditions that may lead to cancer, in a person’s mouth. Like many other types of cancers, early identification can help patients start treatment in time to get rid of the cancer. An oral cancer screening is not only helpful in identifying cancerous cells in time, it may also catch precancerous lesions. These screenings can be coupled with other tests to reach a conclusion about the presence of oral cancer in a patient.
Oral Cancer Correlations
There are various factors that can contribute to the development of oral cancers.
– High use of tobacco by any mean
– Drinking a lot of alcohol
– Previous record of oral cancer
– A lot of exposure to the sun
Someone who has experienced all of the above should be aware of the risks of mouth cancer. In that case, it is important to consult with your dentist.
How Oral Cancer Screenings Are Performed
The dentist inspects the entire mouth from the inside for some important symptoms.
– Red or white patches
– Mouth sores
– Tissues in mouth for lumps and other abnormalities
If the dentist is suspicious about something, she or he may require you to go through some of these additional tests as well:
– Patients may be asked to rinse their mouth with a dye solution so the abnormal cells will take up the color of the dye and be more visible.
– The other test is done with a light. Under this light, only the abnormal cells look white, the normal cells appear dark.
If the dentist detects any abnormality in the oral cancer screening, she or he would request the patients to come back after a few days and then see if the abnormality is still there. If the dentist is more certain about the abnormality at the time of the screening, she or he may take a sample and send it for biopsy. If the biopsy reports are positive, she or he would start treatment for the mouth cancer or refer the patient to an oral cancer diagnostics and treatment specialist.
Don’t let the fear of oral cancer keep you from getting checked out. You may be fearing nothing and be perfectly healthy!