Why You Need Oral Cancer Screenings & Why it is Important?

Why You Need Oral Cancer Screenings & Why it is Important?

May 01, 2023

Oral cancer can affect any mouth area, including the lips, gums, tongue, and palate. Oral cancer is most commonly found in adults over the age of 40. However, it can occur at any age. The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown. However, several risk factors may increase your chance of developing oral cancer, including:

  • Tobacco use: Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer.
  • Excessive alcohol use: Drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Ultraviolet light exposure: Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds increases your risk of developing lip cancer.
  • Human papillomavirus infection: HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can infect the mouth and throat.

Remember that if you have these risks, it does not mean you will develop oral cancer. But, getting oral cancer screening near you is important if you have any of the abovementioned risks.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Most people with early-stage oral cancer do not have symptoms. This is why regular oral cancer screenings are so important. However, some people may experience the following symptoms:

  • A sore or irritation that does not go away
  • A lump or thickening in the mouth or throat
  • White and reddish patch in the mouth
  • Loose teeth

See a dentist in Fanwood, NJ, if you are experiencing any of them.

Benefits of Getting Regular Screenings

Most people don’t think much about oral cancer screenings. But the truth is, they can be extremely important in detecting cancer early when it is most treatable. Here are some of the benefits of getting regular screenings:

  1. Early detection. Oral cancer screenings can help catch cancer early before it can spread. This is important because the earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat successfully.
  2. Save lives. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 adults will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year. Of those, only 57% will still be alive in five years. But with early detection and treatment, that number could be much higher.
  3. Treatments have improved. In recent years, treatments for oral cancer have improved dramatically. So even if you are diagnosed with cancer, there is a good chance you can be successfully treated and live a long and healthy life.
  4. It’s quick and easy. Oral cancer screenings are quick and easy – usually just taking a few minutes – so there’s no excuse not to get one regularly (at least once every three years).
  5. It’s painless. Oral cancer screenings are painless without needing needles or anything else that might cause discomfort.

How Often Should I Get a Screening?

If you have never had an oral cancer screening, your dentist or doctor will likely recommend getting one every three years. However, if you are at high risk for developing oral cancer, your dentist may recommend you get screened more often.

If you are older, it is recommended that you get an oral cancer screening every year. If you are at high risk for oral cancer (for example, if you smoke or have had extensive sun exposure), you may need to be screened more often.

What Happens During a Screening?

During the screening, your dentist will visually examine your mouth for any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. They will also feel around your neck for any lumps or swellings and may use a small mirror to look at the back of your throat. They may recommend further testing and oral cancer screening treatment if they see anything suspicious. Oral cancer screening may be recommended if the dentist detects lesions or lumps.

Schedule an Appointment

We highly recommend scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist so that they can provide you with a comprehensive oral cancer screening; this way, you can be sure that any potential problems will be caught and treated as soon as possible. Visit Fanwood Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for more information about the screening test.

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