Oral Cancer Screening
When it comes to oral health, it is important for us at Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness to ensure that each patient receives the care they need to avoid and treat severe oral problems. One of the methods we employ to help protect patients is an oral cancer screening. Roughly 50,000 Americans end up contracting oral cancer each year, making it important for us to check for this condition in patients that are considered at risk for it.
It is up for debate in the medical field whether or not oral cancer screenings prevent the disease itself, but if signs of it are spotted during screening it can help start the treatment process as early as possible. We will be going over how oral cancer can develop and what an oral cancer screening consists of.
How Does Oral Cancer Develop?
There are a number of reasons oral cancer can develop in someone. In general, oral cancer is caused by cell mutation and a number of things can cause this. The most common contributor to oral cancer is considered to be smoking. Tobacco contains chemicals that actively change the cells inside the mouth and the numbers are staggering - smokers are up to 5 times more likely to develop oral cancer and this number increases once alcohol is used in addition to tobacco.
Oral Cancer Screening Procedure
The screening itself begins with checking for bumps and red and white patches that can appear on the roof of the mouth, in the throat, and behind the lips. This alone will be alarming if these signs are found, but there is more to the process after this.
It can be difficult or even impossible to detect oral cancer with just eyes or even touch alone and so we have a light to help spot tissue inside the mouth that may be affected. Under this light, the affected tissue will appear white. In addition to this, a blue dye may also be used to also spot tissue with cancer cells. If we have found anything that has pointed signs towards oral cancer, we will take a tissue sample to send to a lab for testing.
Lowering Your Risk for Oral Cancer
There are things you can do to help significantly reduce the risks of developing oral cancer. Even if you aren’t currently smoking it is important to think about other aspects of your daily living. Excessive alcohol consumption alone increases the risk factor. Prolonged sun exposure can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer if the lips become compromised. And finally, smoking, which is considered one of the most common causes of oral cancer is especially dangerous - not just for your mouth but also for your lungs.
The common theme is that the riskiest activities are also addictive habits that can be hard to break. But turning these habits around to save both your oral and physical health starts with talking to people and reaching out for help. It is difficult to turn around habits alone, but there are people who will help. You can begin by talking with us about your oral health by calling our office at 704-629-8081. We at Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness are here for your oral health.