Being in a good position as a dental hygienist to detect early indicators of oral cancer in your patients and enhance their long-term prognosis. However, due to practice closures and COVID-19 scheduling pressures, this has proven increasingly challenging over the past year. While we work to recover from the epidemic, we talk about why it’s more vital than ever for hygienists to check for oral cancer.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer directly affects the tissues. Oral Cancer Screening Markham can tell you about oral cancers which include the tissues of the oropharyngeal cavity.
How common is this?
Screening for Oral Cancer Markham predicts that 54,010 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancers in 2021, with 10,850 dying as a result.
According to the Oral Cancer Exam Markham factsheet, squamous cell carcinomas, which originate in the squamous cell layer of the mucosal surfaces, are the most common type of cancer affecting the oral and oropharyngeal cavities. They account for 90% of head and neck cancers, and the ACS reports that they occur most frequently in the tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, gums, the floor of the mouth, and other areas of the mouth, and less frequently in the lips and minor salivary glands.
The Markham Dentist lists the following key oral and oropharyngeal cancer risk factors:
- Tobacco consumption.
- Consumption of alcohol.
- Heavy use of both alcohol and cigarettes.
- Chewing betel quid (also known as “paan”) (common in Asian and migrant Asian communities).
- Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) (for oropharyngeal cancer).
- Other aspects to consider are:
- Being a man and/or being older.
- ultraviolet radiation (in cancer of the lip).
Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
While knowing which patients are most at risk is useful, the Markham Dentist recently updated its policy on early detection to state that all adult patients, regardless of risk factors, should have oral cancer screening.
The five-year relative survival rate for patients whose cancer has not spread beyond the lesion site is 83 percent, compared to only 36 percent for patients whose cancer has spread. Researchers discovered in a 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis that a longer interval between the first symptom of oral cancer and a referral for diagnosis increased the risk of advanced oral cancer and death from oral cancer.
It’s easy to see why Markham believes that every patient should have this important health check. We might also see it as an opportunity to not only diagnose oral cancers early but also to prevent them through patient education and behavioral changes.
Role of dental hygienist
As a dental hygienist, you typically see your patients more frequently and for a longer period than the dentist. As a result, you are well-positioned to perform regular oral cancer screenings and provide oral health advice.
Because many people did not have access to routine dental care during the pandemic, some cases of oral cancer will inevitably have progressed undetected. Even though we’re pressed for time as we adjust to the many demands COVID-19 places on our schedules, this is a lifesaving component of patient appointments that we simply cannot afford to overlook – now more than ever.
To get educated about the topic you might need more information from our experts. Before going ahead with any decision, you can get in touch with us. Book an appointment with Markham today.