Cancer is an unfortunate reality for many. It occurs during cell replication when a cell makes a mistake and copies incorrectly. The body then continues to make the incorrect cell, eventually causing a buildup or mass of these abnormal cells. It typically happens as a person gets older, and their body’s natural control mechanisms no longer delete old cells and allow for the growth of new ones. Because it can strike anyone and occur anywhere in the body, it’s important to research and receive oral cancer screenings in Ontario.
What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are tests performed by a dentist to determine whether or not cancerous cells have developed in the mouth. It can also be done to monitor current growth or determine whether or not a person is precancerous, or has signs of future problems. Screenings are recommended for adults and elders but should be received by every patient on a regular basis.
An oral cancer screening is typically part of a regular exam and cleaning. Screenings take several forms depending on the technology possessed by the dental office. A basic screening will include a visual and tactile exam. The dentist will search for red patches, white spots, or sores in the mouth. They might also check to see if there are any abnormal lumps in the soft tissue.
After the initial exam, a dentist might perform an x-ray to check for masses that are not visible to the naked eye. They might also have the patient rinse their mouth with a blue dye that adheres to abnormal cells, or use a special light that makes regular cells dark and abnormal ones appear white.
If a patient appears to have abnormal cells, they will recommend a follow-up appointment in several weeks to see if the growth remains. If it does, then they will ask for permission to perform a biopsy to check for cancerous cells. Further treatment is necessary if the results come back positive.
Who Is at Risk?
While anyone can develop cancer, anyone who uses tobacco products smokes substances of any kind, or is exposed to a lot of suns are at the most risk of developing oral cancers.