For many, the idea of being diagnosed with cancer is one of their worst nightmares. In order to catch cancer in its early stages, almost everyone is diligent about having routine tests such as mammograms and colonoscopies. One type of cancer that often gets less press attention is oral cancer. Oral cancer screening should be a part of everyone’s health routine.
What Is Oral Caner?
Oral cancer is any cancer that is found in parts of the mouth such as the tongue, hard or soft palates, lips or cheeks. It can also include cancer in the sinuses or throat.
Why Is Oral Cancer Screening So Important?
Oral cancer screening is vitally important because the likelihood of a complete cure increases the earlier the cancer is detected. The prognosis for patients with later stage oral cancer is not very good, so early detection is critical if there is to be any chance of a complete cure. Smokers and tobacco users are at an increased risk for developing oral cancer, so if you smoke, have smoked or use chewing tobacco, you should make oral cancer screening a priority. Since the amount of non-smoker oral cancer cases are on the rise, it is important for everyone to have a yearly screening.
What Happens During An Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is so much easier and less painful than the screening process for other types of cancer. In fact, oral cancer screening is not painful at all. Your dentist will ask you a series of questions about your family history, your tobacco use history, and if you’ve had any recent hoarseness or difficult swallowing. Then your dentist will carefully examine your entire mouth in order to look for any abnormalities. It’s really that simple.
Don’t skip this very important part of your health routine. Your life could depend on it.