What is Oral Cancer Screening: Step-by-Step Process & Benefits

What is Oral Cancer Screening: Step-by-Step Process & Benefits

May 01, 2023

What is Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is an explorative examination to look for signs of cancerous cells in the mouth. The areas of your oral cavity that get examined during the screening include the tongue, lips, gums, tonsils, cheek lining, and the roof & floor of the mouth. Medical practitioners recommend regular oral cancer screenings as they help detect the condition early, giving one the best odds of beating it.

Why Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer is a disease that affects people worldwide, and its 5-year survival rate stands at 57 percent. This means that slightly more than half of the diagnosed persons will be alive five years after the diagnosis.

Although the diagnosis of mouth cancer is not, particularly hard, the fatality rate is usually high because it is usually detected in its late stages of development. Oral cancer screening is, therefore, a crucial tool in the fight against oral cancer as it allows early detection and treatment.

What is the Step-by-Step Procedure for Getting Oral Cancer Screening?

The oral cancer screening procedure only needs a single visit to the dental office and can be as fast as brushing teeth. A comprehensive oral screening will take around two minutes, and it will cover various areas of your oral cavity, including the pharynx, larynx, sinuses, and throat.

> Before Oral Cancer Screening

Before the screening procedure, you will be required to take out dentures and other removable oral appliances to ensure our Billerica dentist examines your whole mouth for abnormal swellings, bumps, ulcerations, asymmetries, and other abnormalities.

> During Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening has two major aspects, a visual exam and a physical one. During the visual examination, the dental professional will request you to stick the tongue out and then use a mirror and a light source to observe the back of your oral cavity and a tongue depressor to suppress the tongue down.

After completing the visual exam, the professional will feel your face, neck, and mouth for unusual masses or nodules. The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that this move is imperative for any cancer-causing abnormalities to be detected.

> After Oral Cancer Screening

The oral cancer screening procedure is usually done as a precautionary action and not diagnostic. This means that if your dental practitioner finds nothing suspicious during the examination, it’s still imperative to keep having more periodic screenings after some time as well as keeping up with scheduled dental checkup appointments. This should be the case for people who are at a high risk of developing mouth cancer. Age (55+), alcohol use, tobacco use, sun exposure, and an HPV diagnosis are some of the risk factors for oral cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

If cancer signs or symptoms are detected after the screening procedure, your practitioner may recommend further tests like a biopsy. This will involve taking a sample collection of the suspicious cells and sending them to the laboratory for tests.

What are the Benefits of Getting Oral Cancer Screening?

Below are the benefits of getting oral cancer screening:

  • Allows Early Detection of Cancerous Tissue – When cancer cells are detected early, chances of a positive outcome are much higher as opposed to when it’s in later stages.
  • Helps Determine Mouth Cancer Risk Factors – Without going for cancer screenings, it becomes impossible for one to know their cancer risk levels and factors.
  • Prevents Oral Cancer – Other than helping you know that you are cancer free, an oral cancer screening session also creates an opportunity for you to ask our dentist in Billerica how to prevent cancer and lead a healthy life.

The Takeaway

You should note that an oral cancer screening procedure is not just a physical examination but also an opportunity for you to chat with your oral health expert about any concerns or fears that you have surrounding oral cancer. When you come for an oral cancer screening, you can come with questions relating to your oral health, and our Billerica dentist will be happy to help you find solutions or answers.

Get Oral Cancer Screening Near You

At first, most people tend to be nervous or scared to have a conversation about oral cancer as a topic, but regular participation in the screening and conversing with the expert will help calm your nerves and put you at ease. Should you spot any oral cancer signs or symptoms, do not hesitate to contact One Dental Care for oral cancer screening in Billerica, MA!

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