Oral cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people worldwide. However, with early detection through screenings, the chances of successful treatment and recovery are significantly increased. Oral cancer screening is a preventive measure taken by dental professionals to detect any signs or symptoms of oral cancer at an early stage. It involves a thorough examination of the mouth, tongue, gums, and throat to look for any abnormalities or changes that may indicate the presence of cancerous cells.
How Is Oral Cancer Screening Performed?
During an oral cancer screening, the dentist in La Jolla, CA will thoroughly examine your mouth, lips, tongue, gums, and throat for any abnormalities or suspicious areas. They may also feel the tissues in your mouth and neck for lumps or other unusual changes. One common method used during an oral cancer screening is visual inspection. The dentist will use a bright light and a mirror to carefully examine all surfaces inside your mouth. They will be looking for any red or white patches, sores that don't heal within two weeks, lumps, or thickening of the skin lining the inside of your mouth.
In some cases, additional tests may be performed as part of the screening process. These can include using special dyes to highlight abnormal cells (fluorescence staining) or taking tissue samples (biopsy) for further analysis in a laboratory.
Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Necessary?
- One reason why oral cancer screening is necessary is because early detection can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. Like any form of cancer, the earlier oral cancer is diagnosed, the more options there are for effective treatment. By identifying potential signs or symptoms in their earliest stages, dentists can work with patients to develop personalized treatment plans that give them the best possible outcome.
- Another reason why oral cancer screening is necessary is because certain risk factors increase a person's likelihood of developing this disease. Tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged sun exposure without protection for the lips, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are all known risk factors for developing oral cancer. Regular screenings allow dentists to closely monitor individuals who may be at higher risk and catch any abnormalities before they progress into something more serious.
- Many people may not even realize they have an issue until it has progressed significantly. Oral cancers can often go unnoticed in their early stages because they may not cause pain or obvious symptoms right away. Without regular screenings by dental professionals who know what to look for during examinations, these cancers could go undetected until they become much harder to treat effectively.
- Oral cancer screening plays a crucial role in detecting and treating this potentially life-threatening disease. By undergoing regular screenings from the dentist, you increase your chances of catching any abnormalities at an early stage when successful treatment options are available.
If you have not had an oral cancer screening recently, it's time to schedule one with your dentist. Visit La Jolla Dental Group: Mehrack Kajian-Faraji, DDS, at 8950 Villa La Jolla Dr., Suite B120, La Jolla, CA 92037, or call (858) 455-9614.