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When you visit the dental clinic in Leesburg for a routine exam and cleaning, you receive oral cancer screening besides your dental exams. After completing the screening, the dentist may give you an all-clear if they don’t find anything suspicious in your mouth. Unfortunately, if you have precancerous or cancerous lesions, the dentist might request you return for additional examinations to check whether the lesions have progressed further.
You can consider yourself fortunate if no progress is witnessed by the dentist in the suspicious lesions because you are not affected by oral cancer. However, some people are not as lucky and must undergo treatments from oncologists for the cancerous growths in their mouths, depending on the cancer stage they are at. Most people would find it challenging to understand what the stages of cancer are because people are usually overwhelmed when informed they have cancerous growths in their mouths. However, cancer begins as minor lesions or patches in the mouth and progresses to different stages if undetected or left untreated even after detection. Therefore when people get oral cancer screenings from the dentist must consider it a preventive measure to detect suspicious growths in the mouth that might indicate oral cancer.
Your dentist is not an oncologist and does not have the training or the mechanism to grade oral cancer. If the professional observer’s suspicious growths in your mouth over repeated exams, they recommend specific screenings or biopsies from specialists trained in pathology or oral cancer. The specialists determine the grade of oral cancer you are affected by to determine your treatment’s best course of action.
When trying to treat oral cancer stage of the condition is the most critical element in evaluating treatment options. Therefore the oncologists must decide by assigning the stage of oral cancer affecting the patient.
Oncologists use various diagnostic tests to evaluate oral cancer before developing a personalized treatment plan best suited for the patient. Patients recently diagnosed will have their pathology reviewed to confirm whether they have been diagnosed correctly. The staging information is appropriate to develop a treatment plan tailored to their needs. If patients have a recurrence, the oncologists perform comprehensive testing to recommend a treatment approach personalized for the patient, the cancer type, and stage.
Oncologists use the American joint committee on cancer’s TNM system to stage oral cancer. The TNM system is an accepted method based on three components which are the T or tumor describing the size of the original tumor, N indicating whether the cancer is in the lymph nodes, and M refers to whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Oral cancer is categorized into four stages, with 1 being the early stage, 4 being cancer, and advanced to need comprehensive treatment.
When dentists perform oral cancer screenings, they do not have any treatment to deal with the condition if detected in your mouth. However, they refer you to oral cancer treatment in Leesburg, VA, for the remedy you need if your oral cancer tests return positive from the pathologist’s lab. Early detection of oral cancer in your mouth leads to successful treatment outcomes from oncologists who may eliminate the disease from your mouth and body entirely. However, cancers are stubborn and can return to affect you months or years later if you are not careful with your lifestyle habits and are exposed to the risks of oral cancer.
If you have a diagnosis for oral cancer and receive treatment early, it doesn’t mean you can overlook the need for oral cancer screenings every six months to make sure nothing untoward is developing in your mouth. If you cannot get your regular dentist for your routine exams, contact the emergency dentist near you who performs oral cancer screenings during your exam to inform you of any suspicious growths in your mouth.
Getting treatment for oral cancer in the earliest stages helps you overcome the disease without going through unnecessary stress. While you may think you are not affected by oral cancer, it helps if you understand the condition can develop and progress silently in your mouth. The only way to detect it is to schedule regular appointments with Dr. Josef Wollmann, DDS, for exams to detect precancerous or cancerous lesions in your mouth.
If you want more information on oral cancer and its stages, we recommend you schedule an appointment with The Dental Co of Leesburg to discuss with the doctor mentioned in this article.