Important reasons to have an oral cancer screening
Oral cancer accounts for approximately 700 deaths every year in the UK and numbers are projected to rise by 38%. Oral cancer occurs in many parts of the mouth including the lips and the back of the throat. Early diagnosis and treatment are important because treatment for first stage oral cancer is not as severe and success rates are typically higher.
At Sheen Dental, we urge our patients to undergo an oral cancer screening exam as part of their routine dental check-up. Most cases of oral cancer can be detected successfully by our dentist in Richmond and we have many methods to do this check. Just make sure not to skip your next dental check-up, particularly if you are over 40 and you have been smoking and drinking for many years.
Some symptoms to look out for
Although oral cancer may not exhibit any symptoms for certain patients, if you have red or white patches in your mouth or you observe unusual lumps, it is time to visit your dentist in Richmond. Some patients may even experience continuous bleeding or pain when they bite. While some of these symptoms may be associated with other oral conditions as well (i.e. gum disease), this can only be determined by your dentist in Richmond.
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
The best way to determine if you are suffering from oral cancer, is to visit your dentist in Richmond for a specialised oral screening. Before the examination, they will ask you questions about your recent oral and general health. If needed, x-rays will be taken. During the actual screening, your dentist will examine areas that are both inside and outside your mouth such as your head, your throat, your lips, your gums and your soft tissues. They will be looking for any uncommon symptoms such as sores, lumps, lesions or irregular tissue changes. If your dentist sees something out of the ordinary, they will refer you for a proper biopsy.
It is important to understand that pain is not always a symptom of oral cancer. Having an oral screening at least once a year is the best prevention method.