No one likes the fact that they could lose their life over something that was completely preventable. This is why oral cancer screenings are important for everyone.
However, unfortunately, many people do not know what an oral cancer screening test is and why is it needed. Below, you will find the answers to these questions and more.
What Is An Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless test that can tell you if there are any signs of oral cancer on your body. This means if there are any abnormal changes to tissue, ulcers, lumps, or any other symptoms of this disease, you will be able to get treated before it’s too late.
Missing out on your yearly oral cancer screenings, there is a chance that you can have something in your mouth that turns into cancer. If this happens, then the cancer can grow and spread rapidly which could cause death if it is not treated early on.
Why Do I Need the Test?
You need to take this test because there are signs of oral cancer that cannot be seen simply by looking into your mouth with a flashlight. This means that it’s possible for something to develop without you knowing about it until the cancer is more advanced.
What Happens During Screening?
During screening, a dentist will carefully go over every part of your mouth and gums with a probe to make sure there are no abnormalities. This can also include looking at your tongue, roof of your mouth and the undersides of your lips as well as the opening of your throat.
Who Should be Tested?
Anyone can take this test, but adults between the ages of 40-60 with a history of tobacco usage should definitely speak to their dentist about it. This is because oral cancer tends to develop in these individuals most often due to exposure to smoking and alcohol.
How Often Should an Oral Cancer Screening Be Done?
There’s no universal answer to this question, but it is recommended that you take your oral cancer screenings at regular intervals. Your dentist will recommend how often you should come in for one of these tests, but usually they are done once every year or once every two years. You also might need one more frequently if you smoke, chew tobacco or drink alcohol on a regular basis.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Unlike some other types of cancers, there are no early symptoms of oral cancer. This means that you could be diagnosed with it at an advanced stage and given a grim prognosis. For example, some common symptoms include:
– Bad breath that won’t go away
– The development of sores in your mouth that don’t heal quickly
– A lump or thickening on the side of your face or neck without an obvious cause
– Swelling or redness in one area of your mouth
– Changes to the way your teeth fit together when you bite down