Oral Cancer Screening
What is Oral Cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by the unregulated division and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Oral cancer breaks out on the lips (usually on the lower lip), inside of the mouth, at the back of the throat, on the tongue and soft tissues of the mouth, and on the esophagus, tonsils and salivary glands.
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening consists of a visual exam and a physical exam of your oral cavity and the connected tissues. This procedure is used to reassure patients that they have no symptoms of cancer and to initiate treatment if they do.
We may suggest a screening in response to a patient’s lifestyle and health, or the patient can request it themselves. Cancer screenings should occur before any cancer symptoms emerge.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
As stated above, the screening has two parts: the visual exam and the physical exam.
The Visual Exam
During the screening, we look at your face, lips, neck, and inside your nose and oral cavity. Before the procedure, we will ask you to take out all of your removable prosthetic teeth to expose as much space as possible.
The exam is conducted with the patient either sitting upright or laying down. We will search for any asymmetries, bumps, patches of color, ulcerations, swellings, or other abnormalities. He will use a light, mirror and tongue depressor as he examines your nose and mouth, and may use other tools when he inspects your gums, throat, tonsils, inner cheeks, underneath your tongue and roof of the mouth.
The Physical Exam
During or after your visual examination, we will also touch your head and cheeks, under your chin, around your jaw, and in your oral cavity, feeling for abnormal masses or nodules. Immobility in tissue that is normally mobile can signal a potential problem, so if we find this, we might ask if physical contact in that area causes discomfort. The symptoms of oral cancer are often painful, but painless swelling can still indicate an abnormality elsewhere.
What Happens After the Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are regarded as precautionary procedures, not to diagnose symptoms of cancer. If we don’t find anything problematic during the exam, we may ask you to come back periodically for further screenings. This is especially the case if they drink alcohol, use tobacco, or have other lifestyle practices that increase their risk for oral cancer.
your dentist at Rowan Family Dentistry will often refer a patient for further tests to investigate various symptoms, but even these are not diagnostic. Even if we find cancer, early diagnosis reduces health problems related to treatment later on. We recommend a toothbrush with soft bristles for anyone undergoing oral cancer treatment.
A cancer screening is both a medical exam and a chance to talk to your doctor about your concerns so he can address them. If you feel nervous about an upcoming screening, write down all of your questions beforehand. Even a brief examination can put you at ease.
To schedule an oral cancer screening, call us today at (662) 598-0155.
What our patients are saying about us
"I didn't think you could feel peaceful in a dentist office - somehow Rowan has managed to fix that. All the latest equipment (way less noise), comfortable atmosphere, everyone there smiles and talks to you, and they simply do a great job of informing you what's needed. I Highly recommend Rowan Family Dentistry!!" ~Shane S.
"My family loves Rowan Family Dentistry! They have always taken such great care of us over the years, from routine cleanings to braces on my whole family! We wouldn't go anywhere else!" ~Jessica H.