Oral Cancer Screening

Leslie Nason DDS

Oral cancer screening detects mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured, so it's important that you get regular screenings each year.

During your oral cancer screening, the doctor will inspect your face, neck, lips, inside of the nose and oral cavity looking for abnormalities. The doctor may also feel your head and cheeks, around your jaw, under your chin and in your mouth to feel for unusual nodules or masses.

The number of people diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers has been rising over the last several years, though it isn't clear why. An increasing number of these cancers are associated with the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV). If you notice red or white patches, pain, tenderness or numbness in your mouth or lips, a lump, changes in the way your teeth fit together or trouble moving normally mobile tissue, it is important to contact your doctor.

It's important to have an oral cancer screening, especially if you are at an increased risk or identify any areas of concern. This is why it is crucial that you have regular screenings performed in our office.

Who is a Candidate for Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

Every adult patient can benefit from oral cancer screening. Even if you’ve never smoked or chewed tobacco, a cancer screening can help identify any problems that may need to be researched further. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Previous oral cancer diagnosis
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Those with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16)
  • History of significant sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer
  • People who don't use sunscreen from the sun's ultraviolet radiation

If you're concerned about your cancer risk, talk to your doctor about ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer.

What Happens During

Oral Cancer Screening

During an oral cancer screening exam, the dentist will look over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloved hands, the dentist will feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities and examine your throat and neck for lumps.

If there are any unusual spots or lesions, we may recommend having a biopsy done. This will help determine if the area is cancerous or benign. Having the screening can help in identifying cancer in its early stages when it is easier to treat.

If you’d like to learn more about oral cancer screenings, call us today to schedule a quick and convenient appointment.


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