Oral Cancer Screening
There is no specific time as to when you can screen for oral cancer. When you go to the dental office for an exam or cleaning, that is the perfect time for the dentist to perform an oral cancer screening. An oral cancer screening involves checking your head, neck, gums and teeth, for any oral issues that might seem irregular - spots, lumps, or discolorations. Here at Canatella Dental our dental team is dedicated to offering you the best care and ensuring that you have optimal oral health.
HPV and Oral Cancer
There is a huge connection between human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that affects the mouth. It causes infections to the throat and can cause oropharyngeal cancer which affects the back of the throat. Cancer affects the mouth and the main cause of it is HPV. Other factors can cause oral cancer such as smoking or even chewing tobacco. Other cancers that affect the head, neck, lip, nose, or salivary glands are not known to be caused by HPV.
Symptoms of Oropharyngeal Cancer
You might have a long-lasting sore throat and this is a clear indication that you might have oropharyngeal cancer. You might also have other issues such as earaches, swollen lymph nodes, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, and even pain when you swallow food. If you notice that you are experiencing such signs then you need to visit the dentist immediately so that the dentist can diagnose and conclude if you have oral cancer or not. Getting an HPV vaccination will keep you safe from getting these infections. The vaccination is recommended for young people between the age of 11 to 26 years. If you realize that you have new HPV infections and you are over 26 years old, then you need to talk to the dentist to determine if you need HPV vaccination.
What is Used to Screen for Oral Cancer?
The dentist examines the mouth using a light, mirror, and tongue depressor to look for any anomalies such as lumps, color spots, swelling, and ulcers. The dentist examines all parts of the mouth, including the inside of the mouth, cheeks, gums, and tongue. The dentist will also check the neck, chin, inside and outside of the cheekbones, jaw, and feel for any lumps that may be growing. If the dentist notices any anomalies, a special dye is utilized to further assess the region for symptoms of oral cancer.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
The use of tobacco and alcohol will bring about oropharyngeal cancers and by avoiding this habit you will keep away from these issues. It is also important to avoid getting into contact with smokeless tobacco products or be near people who are smoking. Our dental team will encourage you to limit the amount of alcohol that you intake to stay safe. Book an appointment with us at Canatella Dental at (504) 269-3486 if you suspect that you have oropharyngeal cancer.