Oral cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the lips, oral cavity and the oropharynx. The number of new cases of oral cancer has been decreasing slowly, thankfully causing fewer deaths over the last 30 or so years. However, the number of new cases of oral cancer cause by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has increased drastically. HPV 16, which is a strain of papillomavirus, is quite often passed from one person to another during sexual activity. Oral cancer can occur in all adults, but most commonly in older adults.
There are several tests that can be performed to diagnose which type of cancer you may have. These are called screening tests, and they have been shown to be very helpful both in finding cancers before there are symptoms, and in decreasing the likelihood of the person in question dying from said cancer. By the time the symptoms appear, the cancer may have already begun to spread. Scientists are studying the things that we do with our days, and the things around us on those days, to try to better understand and figure out which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer.
Screening for oral cancer may be done during your normal routine check-up by your dentist. Whilst checking the condition of your teeth, he may also check for lesions and abnormal rash-like patches inside your mouth. These lesions, or rashes, are areas of leukoplakia, or erythroplakia which are abnormal white or red (respectively) patches of cells. These rashes and lesions on the mucous membranes may become cancerous, and will need screening. This will include either staining the lesions in the mouth with a blue dye, checking with a special fluorescent light, or actually collecting cells from your lips or the inside of your oral cavity.
Making decisions about whether to have a screening test or not can be difficult, because not all screening tests are helpful for your particular problem. Most of them carry risks too. Make sure before you have any screening tests done that you speak with your doctor first. It is very important to know the risks you will be putting yourself in for, and whether the screening has proven to reduce the risk of dying from the cancer.
About the Dentist in Sheffield
One80dental provides high quality private specialist dentistry. Home to a team of experts in their respective fields, our sophisticated, modern practice is located on the outskirts of Sheffield, close to the Derbyshire Peak District.
180 Baslow Road