Oral cancer affects more than 40,000 people each year and one person per hour will succumb to it. Though it may be one of the lesser known cancers, it is, undoubtedly, a serious disease that can be treated if found early enough. An oral cancer screening can be performed by your dentist and is a simple, painless procedure. If you have never had an oral cancer screening or are avoiding the screenings altogether, then you should definitely consider the risks of skipping this necessary examination. Here is a brief guide to oral cancer screenings, because awareness is crucial when dealing with any form of cancer.
What’s involved in an oral cancer screening?
Typically, an oral cancer screening will be carried out during your regular bi-annual dental exam. Your dentist will feel for any unusual bumps on your gums, inner cheek or tongue, and will look for any sores within your mouth, as well as tissue that looks irregular. They will also check to see if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms of oral cancer in your head, face or mouth. Should they find anything out of the ordinary, they may carry out an oral brush biopsy, which is painless and can determine if further tests need to be done for oral cancer.
What are some common symptoms of oral cancer?
Bleeding in the mouth, sores on the gums or inner cheek that do not heal within 1 to 2 weeks and numbness in your mouth or throat or all common symptoms of oral cancer. Those who are diagnosed with oral cancer may also experience ear pain, red or white patches on the gums or inner cheek, and difficulty swallowing as well. Sufferers also note that their jaw does not move as well as it should to or that their teeth do not align as they used to. The important thing to remember about oral cancer symptoms is that they are not centralized to the mouth itself. Some patients find that the throat is affected, in that they have the sensation that something is caught in their throat or that they often have sore throats.
Why are oral cancer screenings important?
Oral cancer screenings are vital due to the fact that oral cancer actually kills more people than some of the more well known cancers, and it often treatable if caught early. Given that the oral screening process is simple, straight forward and pain free, there is really no reason to avoid the screening, especially since it has the potential to save your life. Even if you do not believe that you have any of the symptoms listed above, it is still a good idea to have an oral screening at least once a year to ensure that you don’t become another statistic of oral cancer.
Please call (310) 549-2400 or email us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Vaishali Patel DDS. Oral cancer screenings should be conducted annually, in order to ensure that this life threatening cancer is detected early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Dr. Patel has performed a number of oral cancer screenings throughout her years of dental practice, and can help to diagnose patients who have this potentially fatal disease in time to make a difference.