The Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
- Posted on: Apr 12 2022
Research has shown that the earlier oral cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment. While head and neck exams are routine during physical examinations by your doctor, dentists may be better equipped to catch suspicious or cancerous areas early on.
During a dental appointment, a five-minute oral cancer screening may help identify a malignant lesion before it spreads. Because dentists have access to medical histories, ample lighting, and a close view of the mouth, oropharynx, and peri-oral area, they are uniquely qualified to screen for oral cancer.
A dentist will refer a patient to a specialist for further testing if an abnormal lesion is found. Any abnormal lesion should be checked out by a specialist to rule out the possibility of cancer, even if it does not appear to be cancerous.
The Purpose of Oral Cancer Screening
Such a simple thing as an oral screening might not seem like it could make such a significant difference, but it can. When it comes to cancer, early detection is key, and the earlier you catch it, the better. Often oral cancer is not detected until it is too late, which makes it especially dangerous. By scheduling an oral screening at least once per year, you increase your chances of catching oral cancer before it gets out of control. This could save your life.
A dentist can check for oral cancer during a routine checkup by feeling for lumps in your neck, mouth, and lips, and by using a lighted scope to look for changes in the color of your mouth tissues. Dentists who suspect you have cancer will refer you to an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer
In addition to checking for abnormal growths or lesions, white or red patches in the oropharynx or peri-oral area, the dentist will ask you whether you are having trouble swallowing or chewing, if your voice has become hoarse, or if you are experiencing numbness or pain when biting down. Early detection is the key to the successful treatment of oral cancer.
What to Do if an Abnormal Lesion Is Found
If your dentist suspects you have cancer, you will be referred to a cancer specialist. To diagnose cancer definitively, the specialist will likely perform a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a small piece of tissue from the suspected area and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. If the biopsy proves positive for cancer, your doctor will recommend treatment, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Treatment options will depend on the stage of cancer.
Ask for Oral Cancer Screening at Your Nest Dental Appointment
If you have an upcoming appointment with your dentist, do not forget to ask about an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer screenings are quick and easy and could potentially save your life.
Schedule Your Appointment
At Clock Tower Dental of Franklin Square, you’ll find specialized and experienced dentists who are prepared to manage any dental issue you may have. Our philosophy is that every patient deserves a comprehensive evaluation and customized treatment options based on their goals and expectations. Our number one priority is always our patients’ comfort, health, and satisfaction. Call 516-352-1000 for an appointment or schedule it on our website at Clock Tower Dental. We are located at 110 New Hyde Park Rd Franklin Square, NY 11010.