Like any other type of cancer, oral cancer can be treated if it’s detected early. Unfortunately, many people don’t go for oral cancer screening until noticing the symptoms of this killer disease. Medical experts advise people to have frequent oral cancer screenings where the entire mouth is examined.
While adults above the age of 20 can have a single oral cancer screening every three years, those above 40 years should be screened every year. And if you are among the people who smoke or drink alcohol, you should have even more frequent screenings. Here, we will tell you how and why you need to schedule an oral cancer screening every often.
Why You Need Oral Cancer Screening
The primary purpose of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer or pre-cancerous wounds that can cause mouth cancer. If these lesions are detected early, they can be removed and almost certainly cured. According to experts, at least 84 percent of oral cancer cases can easily be detected by dentists. That’s why you should go for regular oral screenings, even when you do not have any dental problems.
How Is Oral Cancer Screening Done?
Most dentists will examine your mouth during a routine dental visit to check for signs of oral cancer. However, some dentists will perform further tests to help them identify parts of your mouth with any abnormal cells that could be cancerous. Either way, your dentist will perform a physical inspection of your mouth, face, neck, and jaw to see if there are any lumps or any other abnormality.
They must also check inside your mouth for sores and any kind of discoloration. In case of any type of irregularity in your mouth, your dentist will send a sample of it to the lab for further testing. Some of the most common oral mouth cancer tests include:
- The use of laser light to reflect abnormal cells. This laser light reflects abnormal cells differently from the way it reflects normal cells.
- Spreading of toluidine blue dye over the suspicious area. The dye turns blue if there are abnormal cells found.
- The use of an acetic acid solution to rinse your mouth. After rinsing your mouth, the dentist uses a special light to check for abnormalities around your mouth.
It is also essential to perform a monthly self-examination for oral, like checking your mouth for white patches, sores, and lumps. If you notice any abnormalities, report them to your doctor immediately.