Have you ever had an oral cancer screening? If not, it is important to ask your dentist about this the next time you go to your regular dental appointment. The earliest signs of oral cancer are often unnoticeable, to a person may not know that he has cancer until the time when the situation has gone on to an advanced stage – at which point, treatment will be more complicated and a lot costlier. Early detection is a crucial factor in the successful treatment of mouth cancer, and regular screening will help in the proper and early diagnosis so you can enjoy your healthy smiles for a longer period of time. Majority of early cancer cases can only be detected by a dental professional so it is very important to ask for oral cancer screening if this is not a part of your previous dental checkups.
If your dentist detects something suspicious during the oral cancer screening, further tests and diagnostics will be needed to confirm or rule out the presence of cancer. A sample of your tissue may also be sent to a laboratory for a more detailed diagnosis, so that the treatment can be started if necessary in the earliest possible time.
The screening is even more crucial for those who have a high risk of developing oral cancer. The main risk factors for mouth cancer are tobacco use (or smoking cigarettes), heavy alcohol consumption, infection with HPV (human papillomavirus), previous neck and head cancer, exposure to radiation, prolonged exposure to the sun (lip cancer), poor nutrition, and ages 45 and above.