Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by a dentist to check for cancer in the mouth. Screenings are important because early detection of oral cancer greatly improves a patient's chances of survival.
Like other cancers, oral cancer is serious. It occurs when cells in the oral cavity mutate and are unable to be controlled, resulting in tumors or lesions. However, this type of cancer is often curable if caught in its early stages. This is why regular screenings are so important! While anyone can get oral cancer, most diagnoses occur in patients over the age of 50 who are heavy drinkers or smokers.
Other risk factors include a family history of the disease, poor nutrition, HPV infection, excessive sun exposure, use of chewing tobacco, a history of head or neck radiation treatment, and certain behaviors like tobacco use and using smokeless tobacco products.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to get checked out by a dentist immediately. These symptoms may appear in the mouth itself, in the lips or cheeks, on the lips, throat, gums, or even tonsils. Symptoms may include:
Many patients don't experience any symptoms at all. In this case, your dentist will recommend an oral cancer screening as part of your routine checkup. At your next appointment, remember to bring up any concerns you have about your health. Your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of oral cancer and treat any conditions that may be harmful to your oral health or overall wellness.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of oral cancer screenings, schedule your next appointment with a dentist at Dieterlen Dental. You can also call to speak with one of our team members about scheduling an appointment today. Dental care is important at every age, and we are here to help you achieve a healthy smile! Our practice is located at 3015 E. 91st Street, Tulsa, OK 74137, and you can reach us by phone at (918) 299-2400. We hope to hear from you soon.