Oral cancer is a serious condition just like any other type of cancer. Early detection is essential in order to properly identify it and treat it effectively. Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to not only prevent this from manifesting, but it to remedy your smile.
Receiving an oral cancer screening is one especially great step for you to take to stay on top of your health. For more information about oral cancer screening in Winnipeg, contact our local dental clinic whenever it works for you.
Oral Cancer in Detail
Although many of us have heard about this, most of us are unaware of the details surrounding oral cancer and just want this health problem entails. Described below are the most important things you should know regarding oral cancer, its symptoms, and its screening process.
What is oral cancer?
Sometimes referred to as mouth cancer, this condition can impact not just your teeth and gums, but your tongue, lips, cheeks, jawbone, and the tissues on the top and bottom of your mouth. It is classified as a type of head and neck cancer.
Cancer forms when certain cells in your body begin to mutate and grow, eventually destroying other cells. Regarding oral cancer, it often starts as sores in your mouth.
To learn more about this, speak with a doctor or a dentist near you.
Who is at risk of oral cancer?
One thing about cancer is that everyone can potentially develop it since all of us are composed of millions of cells. With that said, some of us are at a higher risk due to certain lifestyle factors and our medical history.
Noted below are some common risk factors for developing oral cancer:
- You’ve had cancer in the past.
- You’re over the age of 50.
- You smoke.
- Poor dental hygiene.
- There’s a history of cancer in your family.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
What is an oral cancer screening?
An oral cancer screening is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the process of examining your mouth and throat for signs of cancer.
The screening can either be included in your routine dental checkup and cleaning, or you can come in and have it done as a separate appointment. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes at the most, but it allows your dentist to understand your oral health better and recommend the best course of treatment moving forward.
Your dentist will physically evaluate your oral cavity. Your teeth, cheek and gum tissue, and the roof and floor of your mouth will be inspected. Your dentist is looking for any abnormalities including lesions, lumps, swelling, sores, or red and white patches. Lastly, your uvula will be assessed too.
They’ll also feel around your jaw and throat. This is because the swelling of your lymph nodes can be an indication of illness since. Your dentist may also evaluate your speech pattern and your ability to swallow and even breathe; all these things can be impacted by oral cancer.
Your daily habits will be discussed such as how often you brush and floss, smoke, and drink. Lastly, x-rays may also be taken to see if anything else is happening below the surface where the naked eye can’t see.
If you have any questions or concerns at all, be sure to let your dentist in Winnipeg know.
How often should you get an oral cancer screening?
It all depends on you and the state of your oral health. Typically, one screening every three years should be fine, but as you age, it’s recommended that you receive them more frequently. for patients over 40 and 50, annual screenings should occur. If you’re dealing with an infection, decay, gum disease, or other health issues, your dentist may advise you to come in even more than that.
How is oral cancer treated?
If anything seems amiss in your mouth, your dentist will most like order a biopsy. A small sample of your tissue is acquired and sent to an external laboratory; this is where your condition will be officially confirmed. If it’s present, further tests may be done to determine the stage of cancer including an MRI or a CT scan.
Surgery is a common approach to treating cancers, especially when a tumor is present. Radiation and chemotherapy are also popular approaches, which are often coupled with prescribed medications.
It all depends on your situation. Your dentist and doctor will walk with your every step of the way, so you know what to expect.
At Markham Dental Centre, we provide oral cancer screening near you. Whether you are a new patient or a returning one, our staff is here to assist you with your unique dental journey. Phone us or go to our website to request an appointment time today.