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EARLY DETECTION CAN SAVE LIVES
Oral Cancer Screening
One is diagnosed with oral cancer when they are found to have cancer cells growing within their oral cavity, throat or on their lips. Some of the things that may put you at risk of developing oral cancer include: excessive intake of alcohol, smoking of tobacco as well as family history of cancer.
Some of the symptoms of oral cancer may include: developing red and white patches in your mouth, unexplained bleeding in your mouth, sores or lesions in your mouth or lips that do not seem to heal, having difficulty or pain when chewing or talking as well as lumps or bumps around the mouth and neck area.
Oral cancer usually kills within the first five years of its appearance, and that is why it is important to have regular dental visits with your doctor so that you are able to identify any signs of possible oral cancer before the cancer spreads and it is too late to treat it.
Oral Cancer Screening Tests
Cancer screening tests are tests that are done to identify presence of cancerous cells in the body even before the cancer presents itself. Although there is no standard screening test that can be done to identify the presence of oral cancer, the following tests can be when the dentist discovers that you have symptoms that may relate to oral cancer.
However it is important to note that just because your doctor has requested oral cancer screening to be done doesn’t mean he thinks you have cancer. Sometimes it is just a routine check to ensure everything is ok. Fluorescent screening: this is a simple process where the patient is given a fluorescent mouth rinse. After that the dentist analyses the mouth tissue under the light. This helps identify any presence of abnormal tissue because normal and abnormal tissue look different under the light.
Brush biopsy: this is where a brush is used to collect cells from a lesion inside the mouth. The cells are then taken to the laboratory to be tested for any abnormality. Exfoliative cytology: this is quite similar to the brush biopsy only that instead of being used to collect cells from a lesion, the cells are collected from anywhere within the mouth cavity including the lips. The cells are then taken for testing for any abnormality. Touluidine blue test: this is done when the patient has been found to have lesions in his mouth. The lesions are covered in blue dye. Dark stains on the lesions are usually a sign of cancer.
If the oral cancer screening tests results are abnormal. Your dentist may prescribe further tests to determine whether you have oral cancer. This is because sometimes the cells may be abnormal but are not cancerous.
Being told you have cancer can be devastating. For most people accepting that they have cancer can take quite some time. However, the best solution is usually to gather yourself up as soon as you can so that you are able to start whatever treatment your doctor may recommend.