Oral Cancer Screening FAQs

Oral Cancer Screening FAQs

May 01, 2020

Did you know over 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, and 9.750 people die as a result? Furthermore, one person succumbs to oral cancer complications every 24 hours.

According to the OCF (Oral Cancer Foundation), oral cancer contributes to 30 percent of the total cancer cases. Luckily, with regular oral cancer screening, you can prevent any further complications and increase your chances of surviving it. At Impression Dental Care, we offer oral cancer screening as part of your dental routine checkups.

In this post, our dental team answers some of the common questions of oral cancer screening.

1. Am I at Risk of Oral Cancer?

Mouth cancer affects the lips, tongue, cheeks, sinuses, and the floor of the mouth. Tobacco is the primary cause of mouth cancer. However, Human papillomavirus (sexually transmitted), and genetics also play a role in increasing the risk of oral cancer. This means non-smokers are also predisposed to oral cancer, just like the smokers.

Poor hygiene and nutrition, age, and gender are all risk factors.

2. What are the Mouth Cancer Signs and Symptoms?

Oral cancer is asymptomatic in the initial stages and may not necessarily cause any discomfort. However, as the cancer cells spread, you may begin to experience:

  • Idiopathic (no known cause) gum bleeding
  • Speckled patches on the gums and mouth
  • Lumps and swelling
  • Rough spots on the gums and lips
  • Numbness or tenderness on the mouth, face, and neck
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing

It is vital to examine your mouth and gums every day, especially if you have any of the risk factors. Visit a doctor or dentist near you for an assessment if you notice any unexplained gum bleeding or lesions.

3. How Can Oral Screening Test Help?

Oral cancer screening is essential as it can help with early detection of any abnormal cell growth or lesions. The mouth cancer test is not used as a diagnostic test but as a precautionary step to identify if there is any cause of alarm.

4. What Can You Expect During Your Oral Cancer Test?

Our dentist performs the mouth cancer test during your biannual dental checkups. The oral cancer screening steps include:

  • Visual exams. During the screening, the dentist will check the face, neck, lips, and nasal cavity for bumps, ulcerations, abnormalities, patches, and swelling using modern dental tools.
  • A physical exam may also be done, and it involves touching the cheeks, head, and around the jaw to check for unusual masses and immobile tissues.

If any abnormal tissues are detected, the dentist will recommend further tests such as biopsy that involves removing cells for laboratory testing. Oral cancer screening dye test can also be done.

5. Are There Any Risks Associated with Oral Cancer Testing?

Yes, there are some risks and limitations.

  • The screening could lead to additional tests. An oral cancer test can only detect abnormal cells and swelling. However, it may not necessarily determine which cells are cancerous and which are not. This will, therefore, lead to additional tests to detect if the lesions and lacerations are malignant specifically.
  • The mouth cancer test cannot detect small cancer or precancerous lesions, which can go unnoticed and continue to develop.

6. What Are the Mouth Cancer Treatments?

Mouth cancer treatment will depend on the severity, location of the cancer cells, and your overall oral health. The doctor may recommend one or multiple sets of treatments to get rid of the cancerous tissues. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery.

7. Is Mouth Cancer Screening Preventable?

No, but there are ways that you can reduce your chances of developing mouth cancer:

  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation
  • Practice good oral hygiene and have a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid sun exposure on the lips by using sunscreen
  • Have your regular dental checkups

Take Away

Preventing oral cancer may not be possible, but you can reduce your risk by practicing a healthy lifestyle. Visit Impression Dental care, and our dentist in Huntington Beach will give you all the necessary information on oral cancer.

714-230-2410 Book Appointment