28 Apr 2018 Questions about Oral Cancer Screening
Cancers of the mouth and lips are easily caught in their early stages with a professional screening. Here are answers to three of the most common questions about this procedure.
Who should get an oral cancer screening?
Various factors can increase your risk of developing cancers of the mouth. If any of the following risk factors describes you, getting screened for this cancer regularly is especially important:
- The older you are, the higher your risk. Two-thirds of people who get diagnosed with oral cancer are age 55 or older.
- Men are twice as likely to get this type of cancer as women are.
- Spending a lot of time in the sun increases your risk of lip cancer.
- A diet deficient in fruits and vegetables is linked to an increased risk.
- A family history of cancer can increase your risk.
- Using any type of tobacco can cause mouth cancer.
- Alcohol consumption increases your risk. In fact, 70% of people who get diagnosed with this disease are heavy drinkers.
Nevertheless, anyone can develop a cancer even if no risk factors are present. So, mouth cancer screenings are appropriate for everyone. It’s a good practice to get this type of screening twice a year.
In addition to getting regular screenings, you can decrease your risk of this type of cancer by not using tobacco, abstaining from alcohol, using sun protection, and eating plenty of fresh plant foods.
Where can I go to get one?
Screenings for cancers of the mouth are performed by dentists.
These screenings are usually done at the same time as your usual routine checkup or teeth cleaning. Oral hygiene means the world to your oral health, and also impacts your overall health. Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, which is thought to increase the risk of major health problems like heart disease and dementia. To greatly reduce your risk of these diseases plus various cancers, schedule a routine cleaning that includes a cancer screening every six months.
If you live in Holladay, Utah you have a great option for professional dental care. To get screened for cancers of the mouth and lips, visit Holladay Family Dental.
What can I expect?
Getting a mouth and lip cancer screening at your dentist every six months is the best way to catch any possible cancer in its earliest stages. If you can discover a cancer before it progresses much, treatment is much easier.
Screenings for oral cancers are very quick, and are very worthwhile. At your appointment, the dentist will inspect your mouth thoroughly looking for suspicious areas. Any potential abnormal areas may appear red, white, lumpy, or raised.
If your dentist finds anything unusual, he or she may want to do some additional testing and monitoring to figure out what’s really going on. Although the vast majority of oral sores are not actually cancerous, a good professional screening is necessary to determine noncancerous sores from dangerous cancerous lesions.