Get Screened for Oral Cancer This Christmas

Get Screened for Oral Cancer This Christmas

The year is almost coming to an end and as you take stock of all you’ve been able to achieve; it is good that you also take a look at your health. Here at Richmond Hill Smile, we make your oral health our business by striving to provide you with the best and latest oral care practices. We encourage patients to adhere to their dental appointments as this will help in early detection of dental diseases. Catching a disease even before its symptoms appear will increase chances of effective treatment and also minimize the effects of the disease. Oral cancer is one of the diseases that can be diagnosed during your routine dental visits. It often begins without any symptoms and this makes it difficult to notice without medical examination.

What Is the Screening Process Like?

During a cancer examination, our dentist will look around your mouth, lips cheeks, gums, tongue and throat for any lesions. The doctor will also check for abnormalities such as thick white patches called leukoplakia or unusual redness referred to as erythroplakia. In case you wear dentures, the dentist will take them out so as to examine the tissue beneath. He or she may then use a finger to feel around for unusual lumps or bumps within your oral tissues. Usually, this simple exam takes no more than five minutes.

For a more in-depth screening, the doctor may need to use a special type of dye or light to be certain you have no signs of cancer. You will be asked to rinse your mouth with blue dye and if there are any abnormal cells in the mouth, they will absorb the dye and become more visible. A screening light also distinguishes healthy tissue from abnormal one by making the first appear dark and the latter to appear white. Exfoliative Cytology is also another type of test that may ne done. It involves collecting cells from targeted areas using a stick or cotton ball and then examining them under a microscope to check for abnormalities.

Who Needs Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is a control measure and this makes it suitable for anyone wishing to review their health status. Medics are yet to agree on how often you should get the screening but at our dental clinic you can have it once a year along with your routine dental check-up. However, if you are pre-disposed to the condition, there is great need for regular screenings. Some factors that may make you more likely to get oral cancer include;

  • Use of tobacco by either smoking, chewing or sniffing
  • Regular intake of alcohol
  • A history of oral cancer
  • Being exposed to the sun’s rays for a long time which increase risk of lips cancer
  • Some strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted during oral sex
  • Chewing betel quid

Our dentists at Richmond Hill Smile can also help determine when you need an examination done based on your needs and state. Also, whenever you detect anything unusual such as a lump or lesion, it is important to notify your dentist so that he can have a look and confirm if it is cancerous or not.

After the Screening

For us, it does not end with the screening, you will be advised on what to do after an examination depending on the results obtained. Take not that screening do not provide a diagnosis, but only establishes if you have the signs of oral cancer or not. In the event that you are showing signs of the disease, the doctor will recommend follow-up tests to fully determine your state. Note that lesions within the mouth are quite common and not always indicative of cancer. However, if a biopsy test indicates presence of cancerous cells, you will be appropriately advised on the next course of action to take.

Oral cancer does not always have a tragic end. With proper diagnosis, appropriate treatment will follow and your journey to recovery commences. We will correctly advice you on the best available treatment options and also give you tips to carry on with your life after successful treatment.

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