Preventing oral cancer is an important step in keeping the number of cases down. This type of cancer targets the throat or mouth. In this year alone, studies project that at least 10,900 will die of this condition. Mouth or throat cancer is more common in men than in women. That is why preventing it is a priority. If you want to know more about oral cancer prevention and diagnostic exams, here are the details.
In any disease, prevention is always better than cure. People can prevent oral cancer by avoiding tobacco products. Keeping alcohol consumption in moderation is also an important consideration. Staying away from high-risk activities like unprotected intercourse can reduce one’s risk of developing this cancer. Oral HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common STD (sexually transmitted disease). It can contribute to the development of oropharyngeal cancers.
Getting an early diagnosis results in a high survival rate. Many dental practices offer oral cancer screening to their patients. This exam looks for signs of precancerous conditions and telling signs of cancer in the patient’s mouth. Its goal is to pinpoint mouth cancer at its early stages. There is a greater chance of curing immature cancer cells.
Dentists will check the patient’s mouth during a routine dental appointment. A thorough visual exam can show the dentist some early cancerous lesions. Some dental care providers can also use more tests to confirm the presence of abnormal cells in the patient’s mouth. Most dentists believe in having healthy, low-risk patients go through oral screening as well.
This type of screening aims to detect cancer at a stage when it is easiest to eliminate. Some practices only recommend this cancer screening to patients with a high risk of developing the target cancer. People who are heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages and excessive users of tobacco products have the highest risk. Those who have a previous diagnosis of another type of cancer can also develop oral cancer. People who have high exposure to the sun have an increased risk of having lip cancer.
The number of patients with this type of cancer has been increasing lately. It is still unclear as to why this is so. Patients who have a deep concern about their risk can consult a dentist or a doctor. The dentist or doctor can share some ways to lower the patient’s risk.
What a patient must expect during an oral exam for this cancer
It is natural for patients to be anxious about an oral cancer screening. This exam is simple and quick. The dentist will look into the patient’s mouth to check for sores and red or white patches. Then, the dentist will use gloved hands to feel for abnormalities like lumps. This will apply to the neck and throat as well.
The additional tests
There are also other tests to confirm this type of cancer. The screening dye test involves rinsing the patient’s mouth with a blue dye. The cancerous cells will end up becoming blue. The dentist can also use a screening light during an oral exam. Cancerous tissues will appear white.
Regular screenings during routine dental appointments can help detect oral cancer during its early stages. This will give way for effective treatments that can stop the progress of the disease. Early stages of oral cancer can still be eliminated. This will help lower the number of fatalities from this cancer.
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