Oral cancer screening is increasingly becoming a norm in most dental examinations. Of course, it is essential to pay attention to your oral hygiene. Generally, though, oral cancer screening is crucial since it helps with early detection, which is essential as it may save a life. Sometimes, it is easier to fix or manage the symptoms and potential side effects when a problem is detected in good time. Therefore, taking time to care for your well-being and watch out for signs of problems will go a long way in ensuring you avoid compounding problems. So what should one do to ensure they are caught off guard when oral cancer hits? What are some ways to conduct self-evaluation, and is there more one needs to do? Keep reading for more insights.
Understanding Oral Pathology
This dentistry category deals with the mouth’s detection and treatment of diseases. They are diverse, but one of the most dangerous yet not so apparent diseases you should look out for is oral cancer. It is essential to pay attention to specific symptoms and signs to get ahead of this condition.
Symptoms to Look For to Detect Oral Cancer
Self-screening can start early if you want to detect and prevent the serious consequences of oral cancer. Some of the things you ought to look out for include:
- White and red patches in the mouth
- Lumps on the tongue or mouth lining
- Bleeding that cannot be explained
- Mouth sores that refuse to go away or get healed
- Mouth numbness
- Chronic throat soreness
- Difficult with both chewing and swallowing
Tips to Conduct Oral Cancer Self Examination
To successfully perform such an examination, there are a few things you ought to consider. These include:
- Checking all mouth areas, not forgetting the floor, roof, lips, tongue, back of the throat, and cheeks.
- Check your face for symmetry and irregularities. Stand in front of the mirror and confirm that everything is as it should be.
- Feeling by touching your neck and back of the head for texture. You will be looking for lumps and other indicators that could show swelling or foreign growth.
- Thoroughly examining the throat. Do this by placing a finger around the thyroid cartilage and swallowing.
What is the Frequency of Self Examination
It’s best to do such checks regularly, preferably every month. Note that oral changes happen rapidly, and it is in your interest to stay on top of things. Some symptoms can be treated and avoid damaging escalation as long as they are detected early.
Do You Need Screening?
Besides the oral self-examination action, you also need to invest in oral screening. This is essential for confirmation of oral cancer and commencement of early treatment. Dentists recommend regular oral screening for adults above the age of 20 years, at least once every three years., The number of screening increases to an annual screening session once one gets to the age of 40 since the risks are higher. The same applies to people whose lifestyles could be a risk factor, such as those who smoke or those who have a family history of the said cancer.
What is Covered in Oral Cancer Screening?
Now that we have established the significance of having this screen done, it is essential to know what goes into it. First, the dentist examines the mouth and throat of the patient using a mirror, light, and tongue depressor. The expert will check for any abnormalities and ulcerations. In case any abnormalities are detected, the oral cancer detection test is done where the dentists put a special dye to confirm. The standard tests here include:
- The laser light reflects on the abnormal tissue. It will be different from how the normal tissue should look
- Using toluidine blue dye on the suspected tissue. It will turn blue if it is affected.
- Rinsing the mouth with acetic acid and a special light to examine the abnormal area.
Self-evaluation and cancer screening sessions are essential for the overall prevention and treatment of oral cancer.