The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings: What to Expect During Your ExamAre you aware that oral cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer? Shockingly, it claims a life every hour in the United States alone. However, early detection can significantly increase survival rates. That’s why oral cancer screenings are crucial for everyone, regardless of age or risk factors. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what to expect during an oral cancer exam and discuss the importance of regular screenings in maintaining good health. So sit tight and let’s dive right in!
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless examination of the mouth and throat to look for signs of cancer. During an oral cancer screening, your dentist or hygienist will use a bright light and mirror to closely examine your lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and roof of your mouth for any red or white patches or sores. They will also feel around your neck for any lumps or swellings. If anything suspicious is found, you may be referred for further testing.
Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
Oral cancer screenings are important because they can help detect cancer at an early stage. Early detection is key to successful treatment and survival. During an oral cancer screening, your dentist or doctor will visually examine your mouth for any signs of cancer. He or she will also feel for any lumps or abnormalities in the neck and jaw area. If anything suspicious is found, a biopsy may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Oral cancer is more common in people who use tobacco products or drink alcohol excessively. Other risk factors include excessive sun exposure and a family history of the disease. If you have any concerns about your risk for oral cancer, be sure to discuss them with your dentist or doctor during your next routine exam.
What to Expect During Your Exam?
An oral cancer screening is a simple examination of the mouth and throat to look for any abnormal growths or changes. The exam can be done in your dentist’s office and only takes a few minutes. During the exam, your dentist will visually inspect your mouth for any signs of cancerous growths or precancerous changes. They will also feel around your neck for any lumps or swellings. If anything suspicious is found, your dentist may recommend further testing or a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
How to Prepare for Your Exam?
It’s important to have regular oral cancer screenings, even if you don’t smoke or drink alcohol. The earlier cancer is caught, the better the chances are for successful treatment. Here’s what you can expect during your exam: The dentist or hygienist will visually examine your mouth, tongue, and lips for any signs of abnormal growths or changes in color. They will also feel around your neck and jaw for any lumps or swellings. Next, they will use a small mirror to look at the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. They may also use a bright light to get a better view. If they see anything suspicious, they will take a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) to send to a lab for testing. This is usually done with a local anesthetic to numb the area first. After the exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss their findings with you and explain what happens next. If everything looks normal, they will likely schedule you for another exam in 6-12 months time.
In conclusion, there is no denying the importance of regular oral cancer screenings. With early detection and proper treatment, many cases of oral cancer can be successfully treated. We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of what to expect during your exam and why it is so important to have one each year. Taking care of your oral health requires more than just brushing twice a day; make sure you schedule an annual checkup with your dentist as soon as possible!