Get Informed. Know the Early Signs of Oral Cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that more than 43,250 cases of squamos cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and pharynx are discovered in the United States every year and approximately 8,000 result in death. Early detection and diagnosis is critical, which is why most dentists offer oral cancer screening services in addition to a comprehensive oral evaluation and exam. The screening involves using specialized tools to detect any problems and an evaluation of the nasal cavity.
What’s Involved with an Oral Cancer Screening?
In most cases, the general oral cancer screening can be completed in less than five minutes and involves the mouth, head, and neck. The inspect typically involves using mirrors, tongue blades, and nasal spray, and palpation of certain areas. Our dentist will look for signs such as asymmetry of the face, facial swelling or ulcerations, swelling around the eyes, and an examination of the oral cavity. Hearing may be tested as part of the cranial nerve examination and a routine nasal examination may involve palpation of the nose. Other areas checked include the hard and soft palate, the tongue, the tonsils, and the floor of the mouth.
Benefits of an Oral Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society recommends patients discuss oral cancer screening options when they visit their dentist. Tobacco users, those who drink alcohol regularly, and patients who have been diagnosed with oral cancer in the past are at a higher risk of oral cancer and can benefit most from a screening. Many tests performed during the screening can help our doctors discover areas of the mouth with abnormal cells may have developed. Benefits include:
- Can be performed on the same visit as annual oral exam
- Only takes a few minutes
- Modest fee
- Provides opportunity for early detection of oral cancer
- Attractive option for patients who may be at a higher risk for developing cancer than others