Oral or mouth cancer is a potentially life-threatening condition that causes affects millions and causes thousands of deaths yearly. When detected early, oral cancer can be treated and reversed. However, oral cancer can lead to long-term tissue damage and even death when caught during its late stages. In this article, let’s learn more about oral cancer, the importance of oral cancer screenings, and what to expect during the screening.
Oral cancer refers to the cancer that develops in the mouth or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the throat, lips, tongue, gums, palate, and inner cheeks. Mouth cancer develops when cells in the mouth change or mutate in their DNA. The mutated cells continue to grow and multiply while the healthy cells die. This accumulation of abnormal mouth cancer can develop into a tumor and spread to other areas of the mouth, including the neck and head.
While it’s not clear what causes mutations in cells that develop into mouth cancer, certain factors can increase your risk of mouth cancer, including:
Oral cancer screening is an oral examination of the mouth, neck, and throat to check for early signs of oral cancer. In its early stages, oral cancer may not show any significant symptoms and thus can grow without detection. Oral cancer can be difficult, painful, and expensive to treat or manage when caught at late stages. Routine oral cancer screenings allow for early diagnosis of oral cancer when there’s a better chance of successful and faster treatment. Visit our office for an oral cancer test in Sharon, MA.
During an oral cancer screening, the dentist looks for early signs of cancer, such as:
Other signs that can indicate oral cancer include:
If the dentist detects any abnormalities during the screening, they can recommend further tests and biopsy for further evaluation and treatment. It’s important to note that not all abnormalities indicate oral cancer. Some abnormalities or lumps may be non-cancerous or pre-cancerous.
The American Cancer Society recommends having routine oral cancer screening at least once yearly. However, individuals with a higher risk of oral cancer, such as heavy drinkers and smokers, may need more frequent screenings. Consult your dentist about how frequently you can have oral cancer screening.
While not all cases of oral cancer can be prevented, below are several ways to reduce the risk of developing oral cancer:
For more information about oral cancer screening, contact Sharon Dental Group.
Our dental office in Sharon, MA also welcome patients from the below given nearby areas: