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Peace of Mind with Oral Cancer Screening: A Crucial Health Measure

The Family Dentist in Pacific Beach, San Diego offers a comprehensive approach towards oral cancer screening with utmost patient compliance and comfort. They help ease their patient anxiety and fear of oral cancer. 

Early detection is crucial to manage the disease since it can be effectively cured in the initial stage. Thus, knowing the warning signs can make a huge difference in the disease prognosis. 

Exploring oral cancer   

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer or cancer of the oral cavity, is classified as the most common head and neck cancer. It is often used to describe a number of cancers that start in the region of the mouth. Cells involuntarily multiply, proliferate, and divide to form abnormal tissue masses or lumps that can eventually spread to other parts if not treated. 

During routine dental check-ups, your dentist can easily identify any abnormal signs of oral pathologies. These include:

  • White patches on the floor of your mouth that fail to heal
  • Slow-healing sores that are painful and bleed easily 
  • Leukoplakia like hardened white or gray, raised lesions inside your mouth
  • Presence of sore lumps or thickenings in your mouth or throat
  • Inability to open or close your mouth completely
  • Loss of taste due to damage to the taste buds
  • Burning sensation in the mouth

Understanding the need for oral cancer exam

Oral cancer is a serious and life-threatening disease. However, it can be treated successfully if detected early on. The main goal of oral cancer screening is to identify precancerous (abnormal tissue growths that may lead to malignancy) lesions. Cancer at the initial stage is easiest to treat and most likely curable. Knowing the warning signs of oral cancer plays a significant role in determining its stage. This greatly influences the treatment modalities. 

Performing an oral cancer screening

Oral cancer screening is a pain-free procedure and is usually not a cause of concern. 

  • A standard oral screening begins by recording your medical history
  • Your family’s medical history is also reviewed to determine the likelihood of developing oral cancer.
  • This is followed by a thorough physical examination, which involves digital palpation and dental inspection.
  • If there are any suspicious areas, you will then be subjected to higher levels of diagnostic tests. The laboratory tests include:
    • Complete blood count
    • CT (Computed Tomography) scan
    • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
    • Panendoscopy (examination of the pharynx, larynx, trachea, and esophagus)
    • Fluorescent light test
    • Exfoliative cytology  

Early detection of oral cancer signs and symptoms paves the way for a prompt and successful treatment. This leads to optimal results and quick recovery. If you happen to notice any signs of cancer in your mouth, seek immediate dental care. 

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