Mouth cancer screening in Berkshire – what to expect
Early detection of oral cancer is essential in preventing possibly severe health issues from developing. To further our goal of protecting your health, at Old Windsor Dental Practice, we urge our patients to visit our dental practice regularly for mouth cancer screenings.
An oral cancer screening is a visual and physical examination of your mouth, throat and connected tissues. It can reassure you that there are no apparent problems, or lead to early treatment if there are. Our dentists may suggest screening based on your lifestyle choices (especially if you are a smoker), or you may request it simply as a preventive measure.
Who is at risk of oral cancer?
Oral cancer is not a common occurrence; however, some people are more likely to develop this form of cancer than others. Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can bring about oral cancer. The same applies to heavy alcohol drinking. If you drink excessively and you smoke as well, the danger is much higher. Statistically, males over 45 are more likely to develop oral cancer than women of the same age. Moreover, HPV may contribute towards the development of oral cancer and so does an excess of sun exposure. Other risk factors include being exposed to radiation, and having another type of head or neck cancer.
Diagnosis and treatment
In order to determine whether you have oral cancer, your dentist will use a number of methods including your medical history, a thorough physical examination of your head, mouth and throat, a biopsy if needed, where a small sample of suspect tissue will be removed for examination in a laboratory and x-rays. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a CT scan or an ultrasound as well as magnetic scans for best results. Common symptoms of oral cancer include visible masses and lumps in the mouth that may or may not be painful as well as ulcers, blood blisters and swollen lymph glands. If detected at an early stage, oral cancer can be easily treated. For this reason, it is important to have a mouth cancer screening examination at least once a year or more frequently depending on your circumstances and risk potential.