John Powers, DMD

UncategorizedWhy You Should Schedule An Oral Cancer Screening At The Dentist

Why You Should Schedule An Oral Cancer Screening At The Dentist

Why You Need to Get Oral Cancer Screening Regularly

So, what is the risk of getting oral cancer today? According to a report from The Oral Cancer Foundation, in 2018, approximately 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer, and sadly, 9,750 people will die of these cancers. Typically, oral cancer is the cancer of the tongue, lining of the mouth, tonsils as well as other structures in the mouth. Unfortunately, cancers of the tongue and tonsils are easy to miss and often go misdiagnosed. But, like many other cancers such as melanoma or cervical cancer, if oral cancer is found early, odds are it can be successfully removed. But if not taken care of at an early stage, then things could turn pretty ugly really fast.

Who Is At Risk?

What are the leading causes of oral cancer and who is at risk? While the rate of oral cancer will vary from one country to another and also be different in every state, according to the American Cancer Society, the average age of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer is 62. However, oral cancer can still occur in young people. Recent studies by scientists revealed that a staggering 64% of oral cancer is caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – commonly spread through oral sex. Besides, oral cancer can be found in people with no known risk factors. So, what’s the best way forward?

Make An Appointment For Oral Cancer Screening

It can be nice and comfortable to live in a bubble of ignorance and think that only smokers and heavy drinkers should consider an oral cancer screening. But it would be wise to consider booking an appointment with your dentist for oral cancer screening – not just for your peace of mind, but also for a healthier life. Moreover, if the dentist spots anything suspicious and it turns out cancer has been caught early, the higher the chances of successfully getting rid of it.

Why Pick A Dentist Instead Of A General Cancer Doctor?

Oral cancer screening is all about detecting cancer before symptoms start appearing. Many oral cancers are easily misdiagnosed, and a general cancer doctor might not suspect oral cancer in nondrinkers and nonsmokers. Dentists are exceptional when it comes to visual prowess in the mouth. Therefore, even during your routine dental checkup, the dentist will be able to spot any suspicious signs of cancer. After all, your dentist is not only adept at oral health but is also the one who is most familiar with your mouth’s condition and will quickly notice any changes.
Dentists have the right equipment for oral cancer screening. Even with their visual prowess, dentists can have a difficult time identifying small and hidden oral mucosal tissues. When this is the case, they utilize the latest technology and equipment such as the VELscope machine for oral cancer screening. Such machines have advanced features that help the dentist see even the tinniest symptoms including cancer, pre-cancer, viral, fungal, and bacterial infections in the mouth.   

Oral Cancer Screenings

Typically, for oral cancer screening, a dentist will make use of a brush to get a cell sample from the suspicious area (sores or bumps in the mouth) which is then sent to the lab for testing. Often, the lab test results will be out after two days.  

An oral cancer screening with your dentist can help in the early detection of precancerous lesions that might cause oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to ask for tips to reduce the risk of oral cancer and whether an oral cancer screening is appropriate for you.

John Powers, DMD
Dr. Powers provides oral cancer screening with every cleaning visit. As an oral cancer survivor, he stresses the importance of detecting signs early to allow for more options for treatment. Visit our website to learn more ( appointment page to make an appointment today!

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