Oral Screening For Cancer
Oral cancer screening is a physical examination of the oral cavity for signs of cancer. This examination aims to identify signs of cancer at an early stage so that it can be treated. There are many lifestyle and environmental causes that make some people more susceptible to cancer of the mouth. It does not necessarily mean that you have cancer if it is suggested you go through the screening test; it is just a precautionary measure to be safe. Regular visits with our team at Frank Dunlap, DDS can help give you peace of mind that your mouth is healthy.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Consumption of tobacco of any kind is one of the major causes of oral cancer. Tobacco is used in different forms, such as smoking and smokeless tobacco. Smoking tobacco includes cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, while smokeless tobacco consists of chewing dip and oral snuff. Heavy consumption of alcohol is another cause of oral cancer. The risk of oral cancer increases with the amount consumed because it directly affects our body's cell membranes. It is observed that poor nutrition, such as lack of fruits and vegetable consumption in our diet, also contributes to oral cancer risk. Too much exposure to the sun leads to higher chances of developing lip cancer. Another common cause of oral cancer is infection with some types of human papillomavirus (HPV). However, it is advisable to take precautionary measures and be screened by our professionals, because even people without the above risk factors can develop oral cancer.
Visual And Physical Examination for Oral Cancer
Visual examination of the oral cavity is known to be quite safe and accurate in detecting oral cancer. Visual screening involves the analysis of lips, face, and neck by our professionals. You will be asked to remove all dental utensils during the screening so that we can check the tissue in every area. This screening includes looking for swelling, color patches, and other abnormalities. It also involves looking inside the mouth and nose under bright light. You might be asked to say "Ah" so that we can have a clear look at your throat and tonsils.
During the physical examination, our professionals use their fingers to touch under the tongue, the skin under your chin, and in the oral cavity to feel the tissue for any unusual masses. The contact between the finger and some areas might cause some discomfort if there is irregularity in your tissue. However, not all lumps or swelling that you have indicate cancer.
What Happens After Your Oral Cancer Screening?
You may be asked for further screening if you consume tobacco, alcohol, or have any other risk factors for oral cancer, even if we do not find anything unusual in the first examination. Sometimes, further tests are recommended to investigate any irregularities in your mouth; this is important because, after all, early detection can help to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. For further information, please call our team here at Frank Dunlap, DDS by calling (346) 576-4411 today.