You have likely seen or read about the terrible effects of cancer. Oral cancer is one of the most common types of head and neck cancer. Unfortunately, it can be fatal if not identified and treated immediately. Keep reading for more information on oral cancer screening in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Important and What Is It?
Oral cancer screening aims to find early signs of the disease in the head and neck. The dentist examines your gums, tongue, lips, cheek lining, tonsils, and the floor and roof of your mouth. They look for lesions and anomalies that could be signs of tongue, jaw, or mouth cancer. They send you to a cancer specialist for additional examinations, a cancer diagnosis, and treatment if any are discovered.
Exams for oral cancer are crucial because they encourage early detection and treatment. According to statistics, the illness has a high mortality rate if caught too late in its course. Only 50% of oral cancer patients survive five years after their diagnosis. Therefore, the likelihood of a successful treatment is increased by identifying cancer in its early stages.
When and how frequently should you get screened for oral cancer?
At the age of 18, you should typically have your first oral cancer screening. However, some factors may call for earlier disease screening. A family history of oral cancer or the human papillomavirus are two risk factors. Patients who frequently spend time in the sun, smoke, or abuse alcohol also require early screening.
The dentist in Chapel Hill will start screening for the disease earlier and more frequently if you have such risks. To encourage early detection, they also include them in regular dental exams. In addition, the dental health expert might advise conducting self-examinations between dentist visits. In order to do this, look in the mirror at your mouth and check for any lesions, lumps, or white patches.
Procedure for Oral Cancer Screening
The patient’s lifestyle choices will be the first thing the dentist wants to know because they significantly increase the risk of oral cancer. For instance, they might inquire about your use of tobacco, alcohol consumption, or sun exposure. The dentist will also investigate your past to see if you have a family history of cancer. They will also ask you about your environment, diet, and HPV.
They will then perform a visual examination to look for abnormal tissues and large white or red patches in your mouth or throat. They will also inquire as to whether you have ever displayed any possible oral cancer symptoms. These include a persistent sore throat, unexplained voice changes, and nebulous, ongoing mouth pains.
After performing a visual examination, the dentist will look for any unusual lumps or bumps on your face and neck. Then they will examine the cheeks, the area under the chin, and the jaws with their hands to look for any masses or hard nodules. The dentist will also inquire as to whether the affected areas are painful or tender. Palpitation is the term for this action.
During the screening, the dentist employs tools to assist in identifying abnormal oral tissues. For instance, they might apply a blue dye that draws attention to cancerous tissues. They might also ask you to use a mouthwash with fluorescent ingredients. Then, they will examine your mouth with a special screening light to look for any diseased tissues.
The dentist will suggest a scalpel biopsy if there are any indications of the disease. It is a test that requires sending some tissues to the lab from the area. If any cancer cells are found during the lab examination, an oncologist will be recommended to you. This specialist will conduct a thorough oral cancer examination for a precise diagnosis.
Oral Cancer Treatment
Treatment is required if your oral cancer screening in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reveals symptoms of the condition.
The specialist will develop a treatment strategy based on the disease’s stage and symptoms. They might advise surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of the three.
Choose to Get Screened
Dentists advise biannual oral cancer screenings whether you have risk factors for the disease or not. Oral cancer screening is quick, simple, and painless. As a result, you need not fear the procedure. Instead, schedule a dental examination with the professionals at Goodridge Family Dentistry. The examination will include a screening for oral cancer.