Brampton dentist with their oral cancer screening patients

How Often Should I Screen for Oral Cancer?

Dec 01, 2022

If you are stringent with your dental hygiene practices and visit your dentist at six monthly intervals, you never have to remain worried about how often you must seek oral cancer screening treatment. That you visit your dentist at suggested intervals confirms that you receive the screening every six months more frequently than suggested by the Cancer foundation.

The Cancer Foundation suggests that adults over 20 require oral cancer screening every three years, and those over 40 need an examination of their oral cavity every 12 months. As you see your dentist every six months and receive the screenings twice yearly, you do not have to worry about screening for oral cancer because you have safeguarded yourself appropriately by practicing excellent dental hygiene routines.

Who Conducts Oral Cancer Screenings?

If you visit the Brampton dental office for six monthly exams and cleanings, you receive oral cancer screenings from the practice without realizing it. Dentists are the professionals you see twice a year for oral prophylaxis. The appointments are an excellent opportunity for the dentist to examine all parts of your oral cavity besides your teeth and gums looking for signs of abnormal lesions, bumps, red-and-white patches, and areas of discoloration that don’t subside.

Oral cancer screenings are not an indicator that you are affected by this devastating condition. Instead, it is a preventive measure to ensure you never develop oral cancer by detecting the early signs of this condition when treatment outcomes are optimal. In addition, you do not have to schedule separate appointments with oncologists or specialists for these screenings. In contrast, you merely need to keep up with your six-monthly appointments with your dentist to receive a thorough exam of your mouth, head, neck, and throat by the dentist to confirm you are not vulnerable to the condition.

Who Is Most at Risk of Oral Cancer?

Risks are elements that enhance your chances of getting a disease like cancer. The risk factors of different cancers are different. For example, age, family history, and other risk factors like smoking can enhance your chances of developing oral cancer.

Unfortunately, risk factors don’t mean anything because having risk factors doesn’t indicate you will contract the disease. In reality, many people who develop oral cancer have no identified risk factors.

Only cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are often grouped with other similar cancers of the head and neck. These cancers also have the same risk factors, such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, HPV, gender, age, obesity, UV rays, poor nutrition, and genetic syndromes.

Irritation from dentures and using mouthwash with high alcohol content is also linked with oral cancer, although not substantiated and disputed by many. Therefore the risk factors don’t mean anything because you can develop this condition without them.

How Fast Does Oral Cancer Spread?

Oral cancer develops in stages after starting from the mouth. The discovery of oral cancer occurs when the cancer cells spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Treating the first stage of all cancer is comfortable because it hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes. However, stage II and three cancer causes the tumor to grow bigger and extend to the lymph nodes.

During stage four, the cancer tumor spreads to the lymph nodes and surrounding organs. The spread of the disease is fast, especially among people over 50 years. Approximately five years are sufficient for oral cancer to progress from stage one to four. Therefore it is essential to identify only cancer early when the chances of a successful cure are higher.

Only cancer diagnosis in the early stages helps diagnose the problem by identifying it. The screening ensures oral cancer diagnosis and higher chances of successful treatment. In addition, screening is performed to identify precancerous lesions that might result in mouth cancer. The process also helps detect progressive mouth cancer and is performed by dentists during routine dental exams at six-monthly intervals.

During oral cancer screening, the dentist will look over the inside of your mouth you think are unrelated to the dentist’s exam. You will also feel the tissues of your mouth to check for lumps. If the dentist identifies any signs of cancer, they will suggest more tests.

Unfortunately, if you have cancerous growths in the mouth, you must have them removed from an oral surgeon and receive radiation therapy, besides chemotherapy, to eradicate all the remaining cancer cells.

If you are stringent with your dental hygiene practices and visit your dentist at six monthly intervals, you don’t need to worry about getting oral cancer screenings. Instead, the dentist at Rosedale Dental Care completes the screening within five minutes, leaving you wondering why the dentist looked at areas other than your teeth and gums during the exam.

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