May 04, 2023 5 min read
A serious health issue called oral cancer affects thousands of individuals every year. It can seriously harm your mouth, throat, and other body parts, resulting in various uncomfortable symptoms and possibly life-threatening outcomes. Because of this, routine oral cancer screenings are crucial. The significance of oral cancer screenings, oral cancer risk factors, and oral cancer prevention strategies will all be covered in this post.
UNDERSTANDING ORAL CANCER
Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a type of cancer that originates in the tissues of the mouth or throat. It can grow in the tonsils, lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands, or any other mouth or throat area. Early detection of oral cancer often makes it treatable, but it may be life-threatening if it spreads to other bodily organs.
SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER
Depending on the region and stage of cancer, the symptoms of oral cancer can change. However, common early signs and symptoms include.
It is crucial to get checked out by a healthcare expert if you experience any of these symptoms.
WHAT IS ORAL CANCER SCREENING?
An oral cancer screening is a medical exam that searches for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth and throat. The test aims to identify oral cancer early on when it is most treatable. Usually, a dentist or other healthcare provider conducts the test as part of a regular checkup or physical examination.
A healthcare professional will check your mouth, throat, and tongue during an oral cancer screening to look for unusual growths or other abnormalities. The tissues in your mouth or throat may also be examined for any changes in color or texture. The medical expert may occasionally use specialized equipment, such as lights or mirrors, to better view your mouth and throat.
Further testing may be required to determine whether any abnormal areas found during the screening are cancerous or precancerous. A biopsy, or a small tissue sample from the affected region, may be necessary for this.
It is crucial to remember that oral cancer screening is merely a method for spotting possible issues before they become serious. Therefore, you should immediately consult your healthcare provider if you worry about oral cancer or observe odd changes in your mouth or throat. They can assist in determining whether additional testing or treatment is required.
IMPORTANCE OF REGULAR ORAL CANCER SCREENINGS AND HOW THEY ARE PERFORMED
Maintaining good oral health includes regular screenings for oral cancer. Your dentist or another healthcare professional will check your mouth and throat during an oral cancer test to look for any indications of abnormal growth or other suspicious changes. They might also carry out additional tests like biopsies or imaging studies to further assess any areas of concern.
Regular dental checkups and physical exams often include an oral cancer test.
They take only a few minutes and are harmless and non-invasive. You can identify possible issues early on and receive the necessary treatment to stop the emergence of more severe complications by regularly undergoing oral cancer screenings.
RISK FACTORS FOR ORAL CANCER
Many risk factors can increase oral cancer risk. However, the most prevalent risk factors include the ones listed below.
One of the main reasons for oral cancer is tobacco use, which includes smokeless tobacco and smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. The chemicals increase the chance of cancer from smoking, which can harm throat and mouth cells.
HEAVY ALCOHOL USE
Heavy alcohol use, combined with tobacco use, can increase the risk of oral cancer. Alcohol can irritate oral and throat cells, increasing their susceptibility to cancer.
INFECTION WITH THE HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV)
Certain HPV strains have been linked to an increased chance of oral cancer, particularly in younger people.
The chance of oral cancer increases with age, and people over 55 account for most cases.
Oral cancer affects males more frequently than women.
Prolonged sun exposure raises the chance of developing lip cancer.
POOR ORAL HYGIENE
Poor oral hygiene can cause gum and mouth inflammation, increasing the chance of oral cancer.
Individuals with a history of oral cancer or other cancer types may be at a higher risk.
A poor diet, low in vegetables and fruits and high in sugars, Increases oral cancer risk.
WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM
People with weakened immune systems, such as individuals with HIV/AIDS or organ donation recipients, may be more susceptible to oral cancer.
It is essential to understand that despite having one or more of these risk factors, oral cancer is not a guarantee. But it is crucial to be aware of these risk factors and take precautions to lower your risk, such as giving up smoking, consuming alcohol in limited amounts, maintaining good oral hygiene, and receiving an HPV vaccination if it meets the requirements. In addition, if you are concerned about your risk of developing oral cancer, consult your healthcare professional.
HOW ORAL CANCER CAN BE PREVENTED
There are several methods to prevent oral cancer. However, the steps listed below can assist you in lowering your risk.
QUIT SMOKING AND USING OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Smoking is one of the primary sources of oral cancer. However, your risk of getting the disease can significantly decrease by giving up smoking and other tobacco products. Ask your healthcare provider about resources and methods that can help if you need assistance quitting.
REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE
Oral cancer is additionally significantly impacted by heavy alcohol use. Therefore, drinking less alcohol can help lower the risk. For women, the recommended daily limit is one drink, and for males, it is two drinks.
PRACTICE GOOD ORAL HYGIENE
Maintain good oral hygiene with the Great Oral Health System because it lowers the risk of oral cancer by causing chronic irritation of the mouth and gums. To reduce the chance, brush your teeth twice daily, floss once daily, and visit your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Healthy eating can help lower the risk of oral cancer. Consume a lot of fruits, veggies, and whole grains in your diet. Antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients in these meals may help prevent cancer.
PROTECT YOUR LIPS FROM SUN EXPOSURE
Avoid prolonged sun exposure on your lips as it increases your risk of getting lip cancer. Wear a lip balm or lipstick with sunblock (with an SPF of at least 15) to lower your risk. In addition, wear a hat with a wide brim to further protect your cheeks and lips from the sun.
GET AN HPV VACCINATION
The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been associated with an increased chance of oral cancer in specific strains. The HPV vaccine can lessen the risk of oral cancer and protect against these strains. The vaccine can be given to older people who did not receive it earlier and is advised for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12.
REGULARLY TAKE ORAL CANCER SCREENINGS
Regular oral cancer screenings may assist in the early detection of the condition when it is most curable.
Recommended reading Cancer Prevention Foods - Easy And Affordable Options
Oral cancer can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk. You can help protect your oral health and reduce your risk of developing oral cancer by quitting smoking, controlling your alcohol intake, practicing good oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet, protecting your lips from the sun, obtaining vaccination against HPV and getting routine oral cancer screenings.
The early detection relies on oral cancer screenings. By identifying precancerous or cancerous cells early on, healthcare professionals can provide prompt treatment to prevent the disease from spreading and causing severe damage.
Usually fast and painless, oral cancer screenings can be done by a dentist or other healthcare provider as part of a regular dental or medical checkup.