Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not detected early. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding oral cancer screening that may prevent individuals from getting the care they need.
In this blog post, we will debunk these myths and provide accurate, helpful information about oral cancer screening.
Myth: Oral cancer is rare
Fact: Although oral cancer isn’t as common as some other types of cancer, it’s still a serious condition that affects thousands of people each year.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 53,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 in the United States alone.
Myth: Only smokers and heavy drinkers get oral cancer
Fact: While smoking and heavy drinking are two of the most significant risk factors for oral cancer, they are not the only ones.
Individuals who use smokeless tobacco or have HPV (human papillomavirus) infection are also at increased risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, sun exposure to the lips and mouth can also increase the risk.
Myth: Oral cancer is easy to diagnose without a screening
Fact: Unfortunately, this myth is not true. Oral cancer often develops without obvious symptoms or pain, making it hard to detect without an oral cancer screening.
This is why it’s crucial to have regular check-ups with your dentist to ensure early detection and treatment if necessary.
Myth: Oral cancer screening is painful
Fact: An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure that can be done during a regular dental check-up. Your dentist can visually examine the mouth and feel for any abnormalities, such as lumps, bumps, or sores.
Myth: Oral cancer screening is expensive
Fact: Oral cancer screenings are often covered by dental insurance plans. The cost typically depends on the type of screening performed and its extent.
However, even without insurance, oral cancer screening is a small price to pay for peace of mind and early detection.
Myth: I don’t need an oral cancer screening if I don’t have any symptoms or risk factors
Fact: Everyone, regardless of age or risk factors, should have regular oral cancer screenings. Symptoms of oral cancer may not appear until cancer has progressed to a later stage, which is why regular screenings can detect and treat oral cancer before it becomes more serious.
Myth: Oral cancer screening is only necessary for adults
Fact: Oral cancer does not discriminate against age, ethnicity, or gender. It can affect anyone, including children. While oral cancer in children is rare, it’s not impossible.
Therefore, it is essential for everyone to have regular check-ups and screenings from a young age.
Don’t let myths surrounding oral cancer screening keep you from getting the care you need. Regular check-ups and screenings with your dentist are crucial for the early detection and treatment of oral cancer.
Remember, oral cancer screenings are quick, painless, and often covered by dental insurance. By separating fact from fiction when it comes to oral cancer screening, we can all take steps toward a healthier future for ourselves and our loved ones.