The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Do you have a minute? Then you have time to get checked for oral cancer.
Oral cancer isn’t as often talked about as other forms of cancer; however, it is just as serious and life threatening. As with any type of cancer, early detection is key to a good prognosis; however, many warning signs of oral cancer aren’t apparent until later stages. This is why everyone, no matter their risk, should visit our Framingham, MA, dentists twice a year for dental checkups.
That’s right; you don’t have to schedule a separate visit to the dentist’s office and you don’t have to visit a dental lab or special clinic to get an oral cancer screening. Our Framingham, MA, general dentists can perform this simple screening during your next dental cleaning and checkup.
What is involved in an oral cancer screening?
There is nothing you have to do to prepare for an oral cancer screening. More than likely your screening will occur during your six-month dental appointment. During the exam itself, our dentist will look at the tongue and other soft tissue of the mouth for possible warning signs of oral cancer such as red or white patches, sores, ulcers, lumps or other irregularities. Patients who wear removable partial dentures or complete dentures will need to remove them prior to their screening.
The exam is painless and only takes a minute. If there are any sores or abnormalities then we may recommend a follow-up appointment in which we perform further testing. Sometimes a biopsy is necessary. During a biopsy, your dentist will remove a small tissue sample to have it tested.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
As we said before, since anyone can develop oral cancer this means that all patients will need to undergo this simple oral cancer screening when they visit their dentist every six months for checkups. After all, our dental team believes in the power of preventive dentistry, which can save you from needing expensive, time-consuming treatments.
Of course, there are certain factors that can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. These risk factors include,
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- A diagnosis of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Extensive sun exposure (increases your risk of lip cancer)
- Poor nutrition
The dental team at Cinamon & Hubley wants to make sure that patients living in and around Framingham, MA get the proper dental care they need. Is it time to schedule a routine cleaning with us? Then call us today to schedule your next visit.