Do I Need An Oral Cancer Screening?

According to recent numbers from The Oral Cancer Foundation, at least 48,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer this year. Of that number, about 57% will succumb to the disease within five years. How do you identify the presence of this disease? The doctor can actually perform a thorough screening to look for possible warning signs. Do you need an oral cancer screening?

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Question: Howe often do I need them?

Answer: You should have your smile examined for the signs of oral cancer about once a year if you are an adult. Common risk factors for developing oral cancer include smoking or the use of other tobacco products, as well as excessive alcohol consumption. However, around 25% of people who are diagnosed have no history of smoking or drinking, so every adult should undergo a regular screening. Other risk factors include excessive exposure to the sun, HPV, and family history.

Question: How long does the procedure take?

Answer: The entire procedure takes just minutes to complete.

Question: What are the warning signs?

Answer: The most common warning signs involve changes to your oral cavity or sudden discomfort that doesn’t go away. You may notice to appearance of rough patches, lumps, bumps, or lesions in the mouth that don’t heal after 14 days. You may also experience numbness, bleeding, hoarseness, or pain when you swallow. Sudden unexplained weight loss can also be a warning sign. If one or more of these symptoms sound familiar, then please see our office right away for a thorough diagnosis.

Question: Do you perform a screening as part of a checkup?

Answer: Yes. You should have a checkup about once every six months. During one of these visits will examine your smile for indicators of oral cancer. However, every checkup is a chance to look for possible signs of decay or periodontal disease, treating or managing the issue before the health and stability of your smile is endangered.