Oral Cancer Screening
A major part of your routine dental visits is a dental exam. Victor Nitu DDS provides the exams you need to keep your mouth healthy. It is during your exams that we check your mouth for a variety of different issues. You might know that we check your teeth and your gums. However, what you might not know is that we also screen for oral cancer.
Why are Oral Cancer Screenings Done?
Oral cancer can strike silently. Most people never know that they have it when it’s in the earliest stages. The problem with oral cancer, though, is that it becomes more difficult to treat the longer it goes untreated effectively. This is because it can spread as it worsens. Sadly, many cases of oral cancer aren’t diagnosed until the later stages. The harder it is to treat, the greater the chances of oral cancer becoming fatal. Oral cancer screenings are done during your routine dental exams to detect the earliest signs, which you might otherwise never notice. This helps to increase the chances of successful treatment.
Who Gets an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are typically performed on adults starting at around the age of 18. They are highly recommended for those who are at an increased risk. This includes individuals with a family history of oral cancer, those who smoke, those who drink a significant amount of alcohol, and those who have spent much time out in the sun. Screenings are typically done during each routine dental exam.
What Can I Expect During the Screening?
The screening process is quick and completely painless. You might never even know that we’re looking for oral cancer. We take a close look at your lips, and the other soft tissues inside of your mouth. As we look over the tissues, we’re checking for any unusual growths, lesions, or other changes. We also take a look at your face and neck for signs of swelling and check for any lumps.
What Happens if Something is Found?
If something is found, the first thing to keep in mind is to remain calm. Just because we find something unusual, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is cancerous.
Further testing will need to be done. Testing might include digital imaging and a soft tissue biopsy. If what we find is cancerous, you will then be recommended the appropriate treatment. This might mean removing the lesion from your mouth. In the early stages, it may be possible to eliminate cancer and stop it from spreading. A follow-up appointment will allow us to check to see if cancer has been eliminated. If further treatment is needed, we can help you to get the care you need.
Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?
You can’t necessarily prevent oral cancer from developing. However, knowing your risk factors can help you to take the appropriate steps to reduce your risk. Reducing your risk includes things such as quitting smoking and alcohol consumption. Making sure to have regular dental checkups is also important.
An oral cancer screening is an important part of your regular dental exams. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Victor Nitu DDS at (480) 536-8228 today.