Why You Should Get an Oral Cancer Check from Your Dentist

Oral Cancer Check

Cancer is a scary word. No one wants to hear it, but early detection is key to surviving. It takes approximately five years for oral cancer to develop from stage one to four. That’s why it’s important to get regular screenings from your dentist. Dentists are very effective in identifying abnormalities that may be the first signs of a carcinoma. 

Why Oral Cancer Check is urgent. 

Even though oral cancer is relatively rare, it is on the rise. In Australia, its incidence has increased by 21% in the last 10 years. While the survival rate for most cancers is increasing, the survival rate for oral cancer has stayed the same. This is likely because it is often diagnosed at a late stage when treatment is less effective. 

Your dentist can detect the early signs of carcinoma in the mouth during a routine check-up or screening. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist for regular check-ups, even if you don’t have any specific concerns. 

Doing oral cancer check early increases your chances of a successful treatment. 

During a screening, we examine your mouth, face, neck and lips for any signs of abnormalities. In the mouth we look for white or red patches on the cheek lining or on the tongue. Then we feel the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, checking for lumps that may be of concern. Other findings may include unexplained loose teeth, sores that do not heal, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue.

Most people who undergo a screening will not have anything to worry about. If we find anything suspicious, we refer you to a specialist for further tests. These tests may include a biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of tissue from the abnormal area to be examined under a microscope. 

If you do receive a diagnosis, treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. Treatment options may include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. 

Don’t wait until you notice something wrong to see your dentist. 

Get regular mouth checks to ensure any problems are caught early. Early detection is key to surviving oral cancer. If you haven’t had a screening yet give us a call here at the Myers Street Dental Clinic and book in today.

Article by Brenda Loh

Brenda has a heart of gold – and patients like you love her for it. Wanting to look after people stems way back to when she was a child and now it still shines through everything she does. Born in Malaysia, of Chinese heritage, and raised in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Brenda has been a mainstay at the clinic since 2003 and has grown to love Geelong and the people around her.