Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Cancer Screenings in Mesa, AZ
Oral cancer screening is usually an examination performed by a dentist or a doctor to look for signs of cancer or other conditions in your mouth. The lining of the cheek, gums, lip tongue, tongue, and jaw are all examined. The main objective of cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer as early as possible and start the treatment process when there is a greater chance of a cure. Cancers in the oral cavity may include mouth cancer, jaw cancer, and tongue cancer. It is important to remember that your dentist does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Anyone can undergo an oral cancer screening as long as you have discussed it with your dentist. Here is everything you need to know about an oral cancer exam and why you should have it.
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Why would a dentist recommend an oral cancer screening?
The entire goal of a dentist recommending an oral cancer screening is to act as a preventative measure to detect any trouble spots or lesions that could potentially lead to cancer later. Here are reasons a dentist may recommend an oral cancer screening:
- Early identification of cancer.
- Early treatment of cancer while it’s curable.
- The 5-year survival rate for all people is 85% if detected early.
- It can save your life.
Oral Cancer Causes & Increased Risk Factors
A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting oral cancer. Here are some of the oral cancer causes and increased risk factors:
Tobacco use is one of the strongest risk factors for oral cancer. Most people with oral cancer have a history of smoking or other tobacco exposure. Oral tobacco products are usually linked with cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips. The more you smoke, the greater the risk.
Frequent as well as heavy consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of oral cancer. Also, the combination of alcohol and tobacco can double the risk for cancer. You should therefore avoid alcohol to prevent the likelihood of oral cancer.
3. Previous Cancer Diagnosis
If you have ever been diagnosed with cancer before, then, you might be at risk of oral cancer as well. It is therefore recommended to have an oral cancer screening in case you have a history of cancer.
4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Infection with the HPV virus is a potential risk factor for oral cancer. In recent years, HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer in the tonsils and the base of the tongue has become common in people. Having many sexual partners can increase your risk for HPV, especially when engaging in oral sex.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Early-stage oral cancer may not necessarily cause pain and may therefore go unnoticed. Here are the most common symptoms of oral cancer:
- Red or white patches on the inside of the mouth.
- Lumps/growths sores on the lips or mouth.
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat.
- Swelling that causes dentures to not fit properly anymore.
- Ear pain.
- Dramatic weight loss.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
- Unexplained numbness or pain in any area of the mouth, face, or neck.
What happens in an oral cancer exam?
An oral cancer screening is a thorough examination conducted by your dentist to check for any abnormalities or signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. The screening process entails having the dentist look for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in the mouth, and sometimes also around the head, face, or neck area. Some of the abnormalities to look for in your mouth include sores, discolored tissue, lumps, or changes from the previous exam. Sometimes, the dentist might conduct an extensive oral cancer exam using special tools in order to collect some of the cells around the areas that look suspicious.
How much do oral cancer screenings cost?
If you have an insurance plan, your insurance can cover 100 percent or some part of your oral cancer screening, depending on the terms of your insurance plan. If you visit an expensive dentist, your insurance plan may only cover some part of it. Oral cancer exams costs vary, but out-of-pocket costs are usually between $20 and $65.
Oral Cancer Screening Dentist at Restoration Dental
We offer almost all dental services right here! Our progressive general dental office includes leading-edge technology, including digital x-rays and a CBCT scanner for 3D digital images that allow us to precisely diagnose, treat, and manage every member of your family’s oral health. Contact us to learn more and book your oral cancer screening today.