Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?


The goal of an oral cancer screening is to try to detect oral cancer while it is in the early stages, as this is the time where it is likely to be most responsive to treatment. As such, early detection is key as oral cancer is one of the most common types in the US. Over 45,000 people in the US every year are diagnosed with oral cancer, but less than half of this will make it through the next five years. But, the earlier the cancer is caught, the higher chance of survival due to being able to treat the disease before it progresses too much. 


Thousand Oaks Dental in San Antonio, Texas offers oral cancer screenings at every cleaning appointment, as well as at your initial visit. Having the equipment to diagnose oral cancer before it would be seen by the eye is important as it increases the patient’s chance of survival. The entire procedure only takes a couple of minutes and it is completely painless. 


The more the cancer progresses, the less likely your chances of survival come, so attending regular oral cancer screenings is important. In the early stages, you are likely to more than just survive, you are likely to be cured. There are a number of ways to do this that include surgery, and other procedures depending on what is going to be best for you.


You are at increased risk of oral cancer if any of the following apply to you:


  • Tobacco use of any kind
  • Previous oral cancer diagnosis
  • Heavy use of alcohol
  • Significant sun exposure, now or in the past


If any of these apply to you, then you are at increased risk, meaning that you should be getting checked regularly. If you live in San Antonio, Texas, you can discuss oral cancer screenings with a dentist at Thousand Oaks Dental to get the advice you need. The dentist will be able to make recommendations for you, and get you booked in to have an oral cancer screening as soon as possible. 


How Often Should You Be Checked?


There is some debate about whether or not oral cancer screenings are necessary for people who have no risk factors. Generally, if you are over 20, you should have an oral cancer screening every three years. Those who are over 40 should consider having an oral cancer screening every year, as the risk of you getting the disease increases as you get older. 


It is also important that you do your part at home. Check your mouth every month for symptoms of oral cancer such as lumps, sores of white patches in your mouth. If you notice anything like this, you need to call your dentist as soon as possible so that they can get you booked in for an appointment. Even if it turns out to be something else that isn’t as bad, it is always better to get checked and be safe, than be sorry.