The Role of Oral Cancer Screenings in Early Detection and Treatment
About 54,000 adults are diagnosed with oral or mouth cancer yearly in the US. About 13,500 of these people die each year. In 202O alone, about 476,125 people were diagnosed with oral cancer. While potentially life-threatening, oral cancer can be treated or reversed when detected early.
Oral cancer screening is a vital component of dental health. It involves thoroughly examining the oral cavity to check for early signs of oral cancer. This allows for early detection of oral cancer. This guide discusses oral cancer, the importance of oral cancer screening, and common treatments for oral cancer.
What is Oral Cancer?
It’s a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the throat, neck, and oral cavity, like the gums, lips, flooror roof of the mouth, cheek lining, and tongue. Like most cancers, oral cancer develops gradually, often showing significant symptoms during its late stages. Unfortunately, oral cancer can be hard to manage at late stages and can even lead to death.
Common symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- A lump or thickening of oral tissues
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Persistent throat or mouth pain
- Trouble moving the tongue or jaw
- Discoloration of oral tissues
- Numbness in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in how teeth or dentures fit
- Changes in speech or voice
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent ear pain
- Oral or facial swelling
While these symptoms don’t always indicate oral cancer, it’s essential to see a dentist or doctor for professional diagnosis and treatment. Avoiding oral cancer risk factors can help lower your risk of oral cancer. Common oral cancer factors include tobacco use, alcohol abuse, excessive sun exposure, weakened immune system, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Early Detection with Oral Cancer Screening
Like other cancers, the survival rate of oral cancer significantly decreases as it develops to later stages. When oral cancer develops undetected, it can lead to severe symptoms and the need for invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable treatments. Eventually, it can lead to complications that cause death.
Routine oral cancer screenings allow for early detection and intervention of oral cancer to reverse and stop its progression. This helps restore your oral health and potentially saves your life. Experts recommend having regular oral cancer screenings at least once yearly.
What to Expect During 0ral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings are typically straightforward, painless, non-invasive, and quick. The dentist performs a physical and visual examination of the oral cavity, throat, and neck to check for early signs of abnormalities or cancerous cells.
They can use a mirror or light to examine hard-to-see areas of the mouth or throat. Physical examination involves feeling various mouth parts to check for pain or unusual lumps. If the dentist finds anything unusual or suspicious, they can recommend additional tests like biopsies or refer you to a specialist. Visit our dentist in Norwalk for routine oral cancer screening near you.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
If you’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer, the dentist or specialist will design a personalized treatment plan to address your condition immediately. Your doctor can recommend any or a combination of the following treatments:
Surgery is often an early intervention for oral cancer. A surgeon can recommend specific surgeries based on the location and stage of the cancerous cells. The surgical procedures help remove cancerous tumors and the tissues to prevent cancer progression. Sometimes surgery can involve removing an entire or part of an organ.
This treatment uses X-rays to kill and destroy cancerous cells. Sometimes radiotherapy is used after surgery or when surgery isn’t possible.
This treatment involves using specific drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs can be injected or taken orally. In some cases, it’s used alongside radiation therapy.
This treatment uses medications to target and destroy specific proteins in cancer cells that aid their growth.
The treatment involves using medications to enhance a person’s immune response to encourage their body to fight cancer cells.
ScheduleYour Oral Cancer Screenings (VELscope) in Westport, CT
Do you need more information about oral cancer and oral cancer screening? Contact and book a dentist appointment at Advanced Dental of Westport, CT, to book your appointment today.