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How Often Should You Have an Oral Cancer Screening?
Wanting some information on how often an oral cancer screening should be performed? It is important for you to provide your mouth with all the dental care it needs on a regular basis, and that includes having regular oral cancer screenings. According to the American Dental Association, it is estimated that as many as 35,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every single year, and from that number, as many as 25 percent of these people die. When oral cancer is caught in its beginning stages, the chances of one surviving this cancer diagnosis are going to be much greater. This makes regular oral cancer screenings extremely important to your oral health as well as one's overall general health.
What is oral cancer screening?
The fact that cancer can originate in the mouth makes it necessary for everyone to see a dental professional in order to undergo regular screenings for oral cancer. It requires a dental professional to perform a thorough examination of the mouth in order to detect any source that could potentially be cancer. Additional screening services include X-rays and potentially a biopsy if a sore is found that is questionable. When cancer in the mouth is caught early, it gives the dental patient a higher chance of a complete and successful recovery.
Checking for oral cancer at home
While it is definitely a good idea for everyone to visually inspect their mouth for oral cancer when at home, it should not replace an oral cancer screening by a dental professional. This at-home oral check for cancer can easily be made to become a normal part of everyone’s daily dental routine and can be done immediately after brushing and flossing the teeth. Since oral cancer tends to start on the tongue or the lower part of the mouth, paying extra close attention to these areas is recommended.
Who is at a higher risk for oral cancer?
Those who are considered to be at a higher risk for being diagnosed with oral cancer include those who smoke or chew tobacco, consume large amounts of alcohol, eat a diet poor in nutrition and have a history of cancer.
How often should someone have an oral cancer screening?
A general rule of thumb is that everyone should be checked for oral cancer by a dental professional at least once a year. Since everyone is different, they are advised to ask their dentist how often they should come in for a screening, as some people will need to come in more often.
When is the last time your mouth was screened for oral cancer?
If you have not received an oral cancer screening in at least a year, then it is definitely time for you to make an appointment with a dental professional for this important dental service. As stated above, the sooner any potential cancers are found in your mouth, the sooner they can be treated. Since the success rate for treating cancer in its earlier stages is going to be much higher, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make sure that your mouth is free and clear of any oral cancers.
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