Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral Cancer Screening - What to Expect?
In the last few decades, the mortality rate for various forms of cancer has reduced significantly, thanks to advancement in medicine (and medical technologies). However, one type of cancer seems to have been forgotten - oral cancer - and it appears to be deadly as it was a few decades back. The main reason for this is because most cases of oral cancer are discovered in late stages when it is too late for treatment to work. However, it is possible to increase the chances of successful treatment with early cancer detection. This is the reason why we, at Portland City Dental, offer regular oral cancer screening services as part of our dental solutions. Read on to find out what you can expect from an oral cancer screening procedure.
Who Is at Risk of Oral Cancer?
Before looking at oral cancer screening, it is important to know who is at risk of developing the disease. A while back, oral cancer was considered to be a condition that only affects older people. However, nowadays, the disease can affect just about anyone, even young people. Several factors can, however, increase the risk of developing oral cancer, and these include:
|Longtime tobacco smoking or chewing.
|Chronic exposure to the sun, which can lead to the development of cancerous tissues on the lips.
|Genetic factors, such as when there is a history of oral or other forms of cancer in the family.
|Sexual activity, especially among young people who engage in oral sex, which can lead to the spread of the HPV virus, that can trigger oral cancer.
|History of oral cancer or other types of cancer.
Oral Cancer Screening for Early Detection
Oral cancer that is detected at later stages is hard or impossible to treat and is most likely to end in death. However, if the disease is detected at an early stage, various treatment options can be offered, increasing the chances of full remission. This is the reason why you should undergo regular oral cancer screening - if possible - during every routine dental visit.
What Does Oral Cancer Screening Involve?
Oral cancer screening is performed with the aim of identifying whether there are any cancerous (or suspicious) tissue in your oral cavity. The screening involves:
|A visual exam. A visual examination of your oral cavity is performed to identify if there are any signs and symptoms of oral cancer. The exam covers all soft tissue parts, including the neck, cheeks, lips, gums, the tongue, the floor and roof of the mouth, the throat, etc. Dental tools such as a light, a mirror, and a tongue depressor are usually used for easier and more detailed observation.
|A physical exam. The visual exam is often accompanied by a physical one, where the dentist examines the various tissues of your oral cavity to detect if there are any unusual tissue masses or lumps. During the physical exam, the dentist will also be on the lookout for any signs of pain and discomfort, which could be an indication of oral cancer or other dental problems.
|Screening using dental technologies. Some dental technology devices can be used during the screening process to offer a more accurate diagnosis (when suspicious or possible cancerous tissues have been detected). They include dental CT scans and a VELscope, which can help detect cancerous and pre-cancerous tissues.
Do you have any questions about oral cancer screening? Be sure to let us know. Call us, Portland City Dental at (503) 256-7917 to schedule a consultation today.