Oral Cancer Screening: Why Is It So Important? | Warrnambool Smiles

Oral Cancer Screening: Why Is It So Important?

Oral Cancer Screening: Why Is It So Important?

A patient getting examine through a machine

August 30, 2023

Posted by in Must Read category

What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is when a dentist or a healthcare professional examines your mouth and throat for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. This typically involves a visual inspection of the lips, gums, tongue, the lining of your mouth and the back of your throat.

Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?

Early detection through regular screenings can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery. Oral cancer screenings are important for several reasons, including:

  • Prevention

Some screenings might identify precancerous lesions, allowing for timely intervention to prevent the development of cancer.

  • Non-invasive

Oral cancer screenings are usually non-invasive and quick, making them a simple yet crucial part of your oral care routine.

  • Risk Assessment

Screenings help assess an individual’s risk factors for oral cancer, such as tobacco or alcohol use and family history.

  • Cost-Effective

Identifying and treating oral cancer early on can be more cost-effective than dealing with advanced-stage cancer treatments.

  • Awareness

Regular screenings raise awareness about oral health, encouraging individuals to adopt healthier habits and make lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.

  • Improved quality of life

Timely treatment can help preserve oral functions like speaking, swallowing and eating, enhancing your overall quality of life.

Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can manifest through various symptoms that start off subtly but become more noticeable over time. Here are some common symptoms of oral cancer for you to watch out for:

  • Sores that don’t heal after a few weeks.
  • Unusual coloured patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth.
  • Swelling, lumps or thickened areas in the mouth, throat or neck.
  • Trouble in swallowing, along with a feeling of something caught in the throat.
  • A persistent sore throat that doesn’t improve with time.
  • Unexplained pain, numbness or discomfort in your mouth, ear or throat.

If you notice any one of these symptoms, make sure to get it checked out ASAP. Our friendly team at Warrnambool Smile Dental is here to help you with our oral cancer screenings and refer you for treatment if needed. 

What Happens During An Oral Cancer Screening?

The process typically includes the following steps:

  • Visual inspection – Our experienced dentists will visually examine the inside of your mouth, looking for abnormalities and signs.
  • Physical examination – Our dentists might use gloved hands to feel the tissues in your mouth, throat, and neck, checking for any lumps, bumps or areas of tenderness. 
  • Education and awareness – As our dentists perform the screening, they will also educate you about what they’re looking for and how to conduct self-examination at home.
  • Follow-up plan – Depending on the findings, our dentist might recommend further tests or refer you to a specialist if needed.

The goal is to catch any potential issues early, when treatment is most effective, and to ensure your oral health is in good condition. Remember, oral cancer screening may just save your life!