Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Essential for Your Health?
You visit your regular dentist for routine exams and cleanings but notice your dentist is searching for abnormalities in your mouth, having no connection with your teeth and gums. You think why your dentist is asking about sores in your mouth and asking you to show them your tongue, checking your throat, and feeling around your mouth checking for lumps and other anomalies when all they are responsible for is your teeth and gums.
Perhaps you don’t realize that the dentist checks for signs of oral cancer by using various oral screening methods. The screening methods help dentists with oral cancer screenings and examinations they perform looking for signs of cancer or precancerous lesions in your mouth. The dentist aims to identify mouth cancer early with the screening because the chances of a cure or better when cancer is detected early.
Should You Undergo Oral Cancer Screening?
Whether you decide to undergo oral cancer screenings or not is entirely up to you because you are not required to schedule a separate appointment for the exam. Family dentistry in Tampa performs the exam of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. You may not realize you are undergoing this exam until you specifically inquire with the dentist why they are probing areas they are not responsible for.
Some dentists may use more tests to help identify areas of abnormal cells in your mouth. Many medical organizations don’t agree that healthy people without risk of mouth cancer need to undergo oral cancer screening. No specific exam or screening test has provided evidence that it can reduce the risk of fatalities from oral cancer. However, you may decide with your dentist whether an oral exam or a specific test is appropriate for you, depending on your risk factors.
Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Performed?
Oral cancer screening aims to detect precancerous lesions or mouth cancer early when they are comfortable to remove and most likely deliver successful outcomes. Unfortunately, no studies are available to prove that screening can save lives. The lack of studies has prompted many organizations not to agree about the benefits of oral cancer screening for your health. Some groups recommend the screening, while others state that isn’t sufficient evidence to suggest the same.
If you are at a high risk of oral cancer will likely benefit from oral cancer screening. Circumstances that develop your possibilities of oral cancer include:
- Earlier oral cancer diagnosis.
- A history of significant exposure to sunlight increasing your risks of lip cancer.
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Tobacco use in any form, including cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, et cetera.
Over the last several years, many people are diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers, although the reasons aren’t clear why. The sexually transmitted infection of human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with increasing these cancers.
If you are worried about your cancer risk, you can talk to your doctor or dentist to find ways to reduce the risks and determine which screening tests are appropriate for you.
The Risks of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings don’t have any risks associated with them except for specific limitations. They are:
Oral Cancer Screening May Necessitate Further Tests
If you have sores in your mouth, most of them are likely noncancerous. Oral cancer screenings cannot determine the difference between cancerous and noncancerous sores. If your dentist locates an unusual sore, you must undergo further testing to decide whether you have oral cancer with a biopsy performed by removing some abnormal cells and testing them for cancer.
Oral Cancer Screening Doesn’t Detect or Mouth Cancers
It is challenging to detect all abnormal cells in your mouth merely by looking at it. The possibilities of small cancerous or precancerous lesions going undetected remain high.
Oral Cancer Screenings Haven’t Proven As Lifesavers
No evidence is available to prove routine oral exams looking for signs of oral cancer reduces the number of fatalities caused by this problem. However, the screenings help detect oral cancer early when any treatment provided likely helps with a cure. It is why oral cancer screenings are considered essential for your health by your dentist.
Henceforth, if you notice your dentist looking at areas other than your teeth and gums, don’t be suspicious. Understand they are going through oral screening methods and checking for oral cancer signs in your mouth even though you may not have any risk factors associated with the condition.