What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is a deadly condition that if left untreated can be fatal for the victim. Fortunately, it is also easy to detect during the early stages and can be easily treated if caught early. When it is left to develop without any interventions, it can also expose the victim to unpleasant side-effects of cancer treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy treatment which will be required to eliminate it. By going for oral cancer screening, you can significantly improve your chances of survival and save a lot of money that would have gone to the treatment of the condition.
While scientists agree that there is not enough evidence to prove at oral cancer rates are reduced when detected and treated at the asymptomatic adult, there is no doubt that treating lesions at the early stages helps. Here are some of the guidelines that are set by the American Dental Association when it comes to oral cancer screenings:
- Dentists and other specialists should perform intraoral as well as extraoral tactile and visual exams for all patients.
- Suspicious lesions should have a biopsy performed immediately for determination.
- Dentists and other specialists should particularly focus on patients who have certain risk factors such as smokers, patients previously diagnosed with any kind of cancer, heavy alcohol consumers as well as people who have a history of significant sun exposure.
With most patients, oral cancer screenings are usually done during the usual dental appointment. The dentists in such cases in usually on the lookout for sore red or white lesions. They also check for any kind of abnormalities using a gloved hand. These kinds of abnormalities include lumps among others. There are other more specific methods of oral cancer screening. Whether your dentist recommends them or not usually depends on whether he or she thinks they are needed. Cost and insurance coverage can also be a factor involved. A good example of such a method is where the dentist applies a special liquid to your mouth which allows him or her to distinguish between healthy tissues and those that may be affected by oral cancer.
Early Detection Helps
Specialists say that oral cancer can go on for many years without being detected and without having any effect on the patient. For this reason, this easily treatable condition is usually treated when the cancer is in the last stages and very difficult to detect. Making sure that you go for regular dental exams is one of the safest ways to ensure that any lesions are inspected and treated by your dentist early enough. Regular dental exams are also critical in ensuring that other dental conditions are detected early and treated. For example, conditions such as gum disease are also easily treated when detected early. Your dentist can then save you a significant amount of money and pain by advising you on what to do about gum disease at the onset. It is also recommended getting a dental examination twice a year.