As the name suggests, oral cancer screening is the examination performed by dentists to find the possible signs of cancer/precancerous signs/symptoms/conditions in the mouth. Doctors and dental experts may suggest oral cancer screening to diagnose and find cancer early, which increases the chances of successful treatment and cure. Please note that there is no medical evidence that oral cancer screening can prevent mouth cancer, but every person may have a list of different risk factors that is considered by dentists/doctors before taking the call.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
Doctors and researchers have identified certain risk factors for oral cancer below –
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol abuse
- Diagnosis of oral cancer in the past
- Exposure to the sun, which may increase signs of lip cancer
If you are looking for oral cancer screening near me, make sure that you take an appointment first. Your dentist is the right person to discuss and decide if you or any of the family members need to get screened. In some cases, the dentist may recommend oral cancer screening if he/suspects anything during a routine checkup.
Understanding oral cancer screenings
It is important to understand that oral cancer screening may require additional tests. Having sores in the mouth cannot be considered as a sign of cancer, given that most sores are noncancerous. However, in case the dentist finds something unusual in the sore or is concerned of the shape and nature of the sore, he may recommend additional tests. In most cases, cells are removed from the sore and tested for cancer, which is also known as the procedure of biopsy.
There is no special preparation required to get screened for oral cancer. The procedure can be completed during a dental checkup. The first step is to check the mouth for sores, patches, which can be red or white in color. Your dentist will also check for lumps and may choose to remove the removable dentures to check the tissues underneath.
What you can expect
During an oral cancer screening exam, your dentist looks over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloved hands, your dentist also feels the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. In some cases, a special blue dye is used to find the abnormal cells.
Talk to your dentist for more!