Cancer is a severe disease and can be life-threatening. Oral cancer is no exception. Because of this, regular oral cancer screening in Markham will prevent cancer cells from spreading and reduce the risk of developing into a dangerous disease. In this article, find out the importance of oral cancer screening and how it helps in avoiding the disease.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer affects the mouth. It may appear on the lips, tongue, gums, or throat. Oral cancer can affect anyone, but men over 50 are more likely to develop it. It usually develops gradually and exhibits the following symptoms :
- The numbness of the lip or tongue persists
- Inflammation of the mouth that doesn’t heal for weeks
- Lumps in the mouth or neck
- Severe sore throat
- White and red patches found in the mouth and tongue
- Swollen jaw
- Chewing problems
- Change in voice
- Drastic weight loss
Don’t ignore any potential red flags. If you see any warning signs of oral cancer, it is necessary to take action right away by consulting your Markham dentist.
Factors that increase risks of oral cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, various factors may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Taking steps to lower your cancer risk can be as easy as knowing the causes of oral cancer.
- Excessive drinking of alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cavity and head and neck cancer.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause irritation and inflammation in the mouth, leading to oral cancer.
- Studies show that people with HIV are more likely to develop mouth cancer.
- Obesity increases the risk of acquiring cancer in the larynx.
- The risk of mouth and throat cancer is high for people with genetic syndromes.
How can oral cancer screening in Markham save your life?
The screening of oral cancer plays a crucial role in your overall health. By finding problems early, there is a greater chance of treatment success. Here are just a few of the benefits of oral cancer screening:
Early diagnosis increases the chance of successful treatment.
The treatment can begin as soon as the dentist identifies the early signs. Hence, there is a higher chance of stopping the development of cancer. Furthermore, screenings can also help detect any recurrences of the disease.
It helps identify other problems.
Oral cancer can indicate other health problems in the body, such as pancreatic cancer. The early detection and treatment of oral cancer can help doctors diagnose other diseases such as gum disease at their earliest stages. These early diagnoses can lead to more successful clinical outcomes.
The process is convenient and stress-free.
The head and neck cancer examination is non-invasive and usually done during regular check-ups with your dentist. The dentist can complete it within a few minutes.
What happens if your dentist discovers signs of mouth cancer?
Your dentist may recommend the following procedures if he finds precancerous lesions on your mouth:
- A follow-up visit in a few weeks to see if the abnormal area is still present and note whether it has grown or changed over time.
- A biopsy is a technique for removing cells for testing in the laboratory to determine whether cancer cells exist. Your dentist may refer you to a doctor specializing in detecting oral cancer.
Before seeing your dentist for mouth cancer screening, it helps to conduct a self-examination once a month. Below is an oral cancer screening checklist you can follow:
- Look and feel your lips and gums using a bright light and mirror.
- Try to see and feel the roof of your mouth by tilting your head back.
- Then pull out your cheeks to see your mouth and the lining of your cheeks.
- Next, check the floor of your mouth. Look at all surfaces of your tongue.
- Last but not least, check your neck and your lower jaw for lumps.
Any type of cancer is dangerous. Don’t let your health reach a point where the prevention of disease is too late. As soon as you notice any changes in your mouth, contact your Markham dentist for treatment options.