Oral Cancer Screening
Early detection of oral cancer is critical to ensure the best treatment outcome and a positive prognosis. An oral cancer screening can reassure you that there are no apparent problems or lead to early treatment of any issues.
An oral cancer screening is short, but comprehensive. The exam involves a visual and physical exam of each area of the oral cavity. The dentist or dental hygienist inspects the oral cavity and connected tissues.
Oral cancer screenings are precautionary, not diagnostic. The most essential thing to be aware of when aiming to prevent oral cancers is the risk factors. Risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- An HPV diagnosis
- Sun exposure
- Age (55+)
- Gender (it is twice as common in men than in women)
If the dentist finds an oral cancer-like symptom, they will refer you to a specialist for further testing. But don’t panic! A need for further investigation does not mean a cancer diagnosis. If your dentist does not find anything abnormal, that is great news. But make sure to come back for further screenings at regular intervals.