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Best Ways to Screen Your Mouth for Oral Cancer


Posted on 9/10/2015 by Robert Leale
A patient being examined for oral cancer.Oral cancer is a deadly disease that has a variety of causes, including heavy tobacco use, HPV, extreme sun exposure, poor diet, and simple, unavoidable aging. It's important to discover the cancer as early as possible to avoid spreading. Being well-informed about your own oral health can be exigent at times, and, luckily, cancer can be detected before symptoms start to show with the help of recent technology. Cancer screening does this with various tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, and other methods.

Many factors go into deciding whether or not to get screened for oral cancer. High risk patients benefit more from it, and factors include excessive sun exposure, tobacco or alcohol use, or previously diagnosed oral cancer. A simple oral test would include a doctor searching your mouth for spots or possibly malignant lumps in the gums. Special testing can include rinsing the mouth with a special blue dye that reveals abnormally grown cells.

Aside from a physical dentist examination, other ways of detecting early signs of cancer vary and have greatly improved over the years with technology. X-rays can be used to detect growth of tumors in bone. Additionally, CT scans can detect masses in the tissue, and a biopsy would be able to determine if they are malignant.

Ultrasonography, the use of ultrasound technology, can also be used to detect these abnormal tissue masses. Once a mass is found, a biopsy can begin. This biopsy occurs when a sample of tissue is tested and carefully examined by a professional to show if the cells are dangerous. Yet another screening test developed relatively recently is the use of a PET scan to show increased cell activity in cancerous cells, instead of simply detecting possible tumors.

With these early screenings, oral cancer can be detected early and therefore treated early. However, if symptoms do show, such as sores that will not heal, lumps in the skin of the mouth, loose teeth, jaw pain, and other various symptoms, consult an oral doctor. If you have a heightened risk for oral cancer, early screening may be the option for you.

Please contact us if you have any questions about oral cancer.
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Spokane, WA 99208

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