The Oral Cancer Screening Process

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What You Need To Know

We’ve all seen those commercials. The heartbreaking scene of a person in chemotherapy while family members look on from the other room, or the joyous release of someone who is now cancer-free from the hospital to waiting family at the doors. Whether you turn the channel or watch the commercial anyway, cancer is nothing to joke about. Oral cancer is not something typically talked about in polite company, mostly because of its connection to bad habits like smoking, chewing tobacco, or excessive alcohol consumption. But even those of us who try to keep our vices in check are at risk. The dental staff at Lee Branch are trained to perform oral cancer screenings during your regular visits and are on the job to help catch and prevent this life-changing disease!

Common Causes And What To Avoid

I’m sure you all remember those gross-as-all-get-out pictures from tenth grade health class. The ones with the smoker missing half his teeth, or the lady with mouth lesions? It’s enough to make even a grown person shudder! One of the most common causes of oral cancer is tobacco use of any kind. We all know that includes things like cigarettes and chewing tobacco/snuff, but your weekend cigar? Yep, that one causes it too. The pipe passed down from Grandpa? Another one on the list. A little less-known cause is alcohol. While most of us above drinking age don’t typically spend hours upon hours consuming our favorite alcoholic beverage, everyone likes a party now and then. Just keep your intake in mind and see a dentist immediately if you notice sores in your mouth. We all know that the sun/ UV rays can cause skin cancer, but did you know that you can form cancer on your lips? That’s right, a skin cancer that begins on the lips can spread to the rest of your mouth! So make sure you pack a lipbalm with some SPF the next you head to the ballpark or beach.

The Process

The entire process of oral cancer screening is actually very simple! One of the expert dental staff at Lee Branch Dental Studio will do a non-invasive scanning of your mouth and throat to look for precancerous signs. Those who wear retainers or dentures, either partial or complete, may be asked to remove these so the dentist can feel the gumline for lumps or extra tissue. If nothing is wrong, you’re done! If something seems off, a few tests may need to be performed. Mostly these are an oral rinse that will dye any cancerous cells a bright color, or simply shining an extra light in your mouth for better visibility!

Still Have Concerns?

Just the word ‘cancer’ is enough to have the strongest people running for the hills. If you are concerned about your possible exposure, have a strange lump or bump, or just want to make absolutely sure: come see the experts at Lee Branch Dental Studio today!

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