Oral Cancer Screening Middleborough MA
When you think of cancer, oral cancer probably does not come to mind. You might have never heard of it. Oral cancer is not a common type of disease, but it can still be deadly. In fact, in the United States, oral cancer kills one person per hour, every day, on average. Unfortunately, oral cancer is a very dangerous form of cancer because it is usually not detected until it is in its advanced stages. The odds of surviving it in at that point are not good. Only 60% of people will survive after five years of treatment.
The good news is that there is a simple test that your dentist can perform to check for this cancer and assess your risk. This test can even save your life, as early detection can increase your survival rate to 80% or more. Cancer screenings can be incorporated into your regular dental checkups.
The exam is quick and painless. This visual and tactile exam can identify small changes in the tissues of the mouth, tongue, and lips. If your dentist finds any abnormalities, they can take a small tissue sample and test it in a laboratory.
Who’s at Risk for Developing Oral Cancer?
In the past, this cancer primarily developed in older people. While it still mostly affects those over the age of 40, the disease is developing in younger patients. The main reason for this is the spread of the sexually-transmitted disease called Human Papilloma Virus.
There are major risk factors that apply. Those who are middle-aged or older, drink a moderate to the heavy amount of alcohol or use tobacco have a greater chance of developing oral cancer. Lip cancer can be caused by chronic exposure to the sun, which can also cause skin cancer. Oral cancer also has genetic factors as well.
What Does a Screening Entail?
A thorough screening for oral cancer should be part of your routine dental checkup. This screening includes a visual assessment of the inside of your mouth, as well as your lips and tongue. The dentist will also check for red or white patches or unusual sores. The dentist may also press certain areas in your mouth to find any lumps and swellings. A special dye or light may be used to better assess suspect areas. If anything appears to be out of the ordinary, the dentist can provide a biopsy.
Any abnormal sores or changes in the color of the tissue of your lip, tongue or mouth may be a symptom of this cancer. Most, however, are completely benign. However, sores that haven’t gone away after several weeks should be examined. Early diagnosis, combined with regular screenings, can help you prevent oral cancer.
Oral cancer is an often-deadly type of cancer. Make sure you take the appropriate steps to prevent it. The dentists at Middleboro Family Dental can perform oral cancer screenings to protect your mouth and overall health. Learn more about our services by calling (508) 947-4411 today.