There are several types of cancer that can occur in the oral cavity and all of them pose a serious risk.
Can oral cancer spread through kissing? Is it contagious? is a smart question.
The good news is that you cannot get mouth cancer from kissing. But the problem with this answer is that the groundwork can be laid from kissing for a possible oral or throat cancer later in life.
Research has found a connection between oral sex and oral cancer: the human papillomavirus (HPV-16).
Whether oral sex actually causes the cancer or only contributes somewhat to the cause is unknown.
People with higher risk levels should get regular screenings. Some risk factors include being male, older than 50, a family history, heavy alcohol or tobacco use, having an oral HPV, and excessive exposure to the sun’s rays.
Oral Cancer Screening by a Dentist – What to Expect
Seeing a dentist for an oral cancer screening will enable early cancer to be spotted. The screening is rather brief but thorough.
The screening will start with the dentist asking about your current oral health, and whether or not you have experienced any changes.
You’ll be asked about tobacco and alcohol use since these substances are strong risk factors for oral cancer.
The dentist will then proceed to examine your mouth. Your tongue will be looked at – on top and underneath, and then the sides and upper portion of your mouth.
Your gums will be examined for sores and other problems, and next will be the back of your mouth and throat.
The dentist will also feel your neck, under your jaw, cheeks and head for unusual lumps, because this is often the first sign of oropharyngeal cancer. In most cases, the screening will not take any longer than a minute.
If any questionable spots or tissue are discovered, other tests may be given. The dentist may use special lights, dyes or rinses to reveal the nature of the suspicious tissue.
A dentist may also be able to conduct an early biopsy to send to a lab. Other types of instruments may be used to ensure a more thorough test.
If oral cancer is discovered, more tests will be given by a medical doctor. You will need to follow up immediately because oral cancers can spread fast.