Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
It’s not just smokers and people that drink alcohol who are at risk for developing oral cancer. New studies show that people in their 20s and 30s are more at risk than ever, partly due to HPV, the virus that also causes cervical cancers. The American Cancer Society predicts that each year, more than 30,000 new oral cancer cases are diagnosed.
This is what makes it so important for us as a dental health care provider to offer oral cancer screenings as a part of every patient’s visit to Mint Dental.
When you visit us regularly, Mint Dental dentists can monitor your oral health tissues and quickly identify abnormal areas of tissues that may be precancerous or cancerous. By the time patients find oral cancers on their own, it is typically too late for them to receive effective treatments. Early diagnosis is key.
What to Expect from Your Screening
During your oral cancer examination, we’ll check for areas that are:
- Raw sores that do not heal
- Abnormal shapes or borders
- White, Red, or abnormal coloration
- Anatomically unilateral (only on one side of your mouth)
- Fixed, nodular areas
…as well as many more
Your mouth isn’t the only area that we screen for precancerous tissue. Mint Dental also believes that thorough screening of your entire head and neck, including palpating your lymph nodes is the only efficient way to promote early detection of oral, head and neck cancers.
Should an irregular patch of tissue be discovered, we may decide to monitor the area for a couple of weeks, or collect a small biopsy to send off for analysis. With early diagnosis, treatments for oral cancers can be very successful. It’s important to let us know if you’ve noticed anything in your mouth that doesn’t seem quite right. In many cases, there is a very good reason for the area of concern. However, when there is not, we’re there to help patients have effective, early cancer care that helps them live a full life for many more years.