Oral cancer, a term that encompasses cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, is a serious health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. The good news is that early detection can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment. One of the most effective ways to catch oral cancer in its early stages is through regular oral cancer screenings. In this blog, your Prairie Village, KS dental team will delve into the significance of oral cancer screenings and why they should be an essential part of your healthcare routine.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can manifest in various forms, with the most common type being squamous cell carcinoma. Risk factors for developing oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, sun exposure (in the case of lip cancer), and a family history of the disease. The symptoms of oral cancer can be subtle, ranging from persistent mouth sores and ulcers to difficulty swallowing and changes in the voice.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Oral cancer, like many other oral health issues, is most treatable when detected in its early stages. Unfortunately, due to the lack of pain or obvious symptoms in the beginning, it often goes undiagnosed until it has reached an advanced and more challenging-to-treat stage. Regular oral cancer screenings conducted by a dentist or healthcare professional can identify abnormalities in the mouth and throat that might be indicative of cancer. When caught early, the prognosis for oral cancer is generally much better, and the treatment is less invasive.
Oral cancer screenings are not just about early detection; they can also help assess an individual’s risk for developing the disease. By evaluating lifestyle factors, medical history, and family history, healthcare professionals can identify those at higher risk and provide them with guidance on reducing their risk factors. For instance, individuals who smoke or use tobacco products are at a significantly greater risk of developing oral cancer. These screenings can help individuals assess their risk factors and take proactive steps to reduce them.
Simple and Non-Invasive
A typical screening involves a visual examination of the mouth, throat, and neck, as well as a physical examination using gloved hands to check for lumps, swelling, or other abnormalities. In some cases, healthcare professionals may use special tools or techniques, to aid in the detection process. These screenings are quick and can often easily incorporated into routine dental check-ups.
Is It Time For Your Screening?
It can be easy to underestimate the importance of oral cancer screenings – but it is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and well-being. If you have not had one recently, please call your Prairie Village, KS dentist’s office today at (913)901-8585 to ensure you are taking this vital step in cancer prevention. Your future self will thank you for it.