Screening is when a specialist looks for cancer before you have any symptoms. Oral cancer screening is an examination done in your mouth by a specialist. The screening detects any signs of cancer or any precancerous condition. It is usually done during regular dental checkups. Additional tests may be done to help in identifying any abnormal cells.
Do I have to have regular oral cancer screenings, you may ask? The main objective of oral cancer screening is to look out for any precancerous lesions at their early stages. During this stage, it’s easier for them to be removed and cured.
It is also done to determine oral cancer risk factors. No one expects to get cancer. People live and die without getting cancer. Others get it while young and others when older. Identifying your oral cancer risk levels without oracle cancer screenings is difficult.
It allows you to learn how you will prevent oral cancer. At Lapeer City Dental, we assess one’s risk factors and give them tips on how to reduce them.
The devices used include:
This firm brush is used to scraper away tissues and cells from targeted areas. After collecting the required tissue, the brush is placed in a tube. There are then sent to a lab where the cancer cells are checked. The results should be out within a week or two.
After a strange spot is discovered in your mouth, fluorescent light is used to examine it. The light brightly illuminates all the tissues evenly. The dark spots can also be pressed and examined on how they blanch with pressure. If the response is abnormal, further investigation will be done.
Abnormal tissues can also be checked using a mouth rinse and a light. First, you will be required to swish the rinse in your mouth; then, the dentist will look around using the light. The special mouth rinse and the light work together by making the cancerous cells glow.
No special preparation is needed before the appointment. All that one needs to do is show up for the appointment. The dentist will then perform the required oral exam routine.
The oral cancer screening dentist pays attention inside your mouth during the examination. They look for sores or red and white patches. The dentist will also run their fingers around the mouth, looking for tissues or lumps.
If you are wearing removable dentures, the dentist will take them to check the tissue under them.
Oral cancer screening tests decisions can be difficult. Some screening tests can be unhelpful, while most of them have risks. Therefore, it is wise to discuss with your dentist the screening tests. There is importance in learning about the risks of the test beforehand.
The following are risks of oral cancer screenings:
These results give normal results despite the cancer being present. This leads to delayed treatment despite the present symptoms.
A false-positive test result will show that you have cancer when you do not. In addition, it can cause anxiety and lead to more tests, which may also have risks.
A biopsy can be done during a mouth cancer test to diagnose cancer. Tissues and cells are extracted from your oral cavity, lips, or oropharynx. A pathologist then views them under a microscope to look for any signs of cancer.
When there is no cancer, it is a misdiagnosis when a report is given. For example, a misdiagnosis can be made if a pathologist reports you to have cancer when the cells have no cancer. This can lead to you getting the wrong form of treatment.
Some cancers are asymptomatic, while others can be life-threatening. If found out during a screening, they can be treated. Finding the cancer is known as over-diagnosis. There is no assurance if the treatment given will prolong your life rather than if no treatment was done.
Screening tests can also find cancers that cannot be cured. The treatment process for this cancer can result in serious side effects reducing one’s life.