What Happens During An Oral Cancer Screening?
During routine checkups, our dentists use intraoral cameras and special digital imaging equipment to examine the soft tissue of your mouth. We keep an eye out for issues like lumps and lesions, tissue abnormalities, discoloration or whiteness, and other irregularities in the tongue, mouth and lips. We may also ask whether you’ve experienced key symptoms of oral cancer, including oral numbness, a sore throat, a lump in the throat, or chronic hoarseness. We will also inquire about your oral health to determine your risk of oral cancer and develop a personalized strategy for prevention.
Understanding The Basics
If we notice an abnormality in your mouth and we believe that it requires further inspection, we may recommend a biopsy. During this simple, quick, and painless procedure, one of our dentists will numb your mouth and remove part of the lesion or area, then send it to a third-party lab to analyze it and check for signs of cancer. It’s important to note that many oral imperfections and abnormalities are not cancerous, so there is no need to be alarmed if we suggest a biopsy. We will recommend a biopsy whenever we notice a potential sign, but this does not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. It’s always better to take precautions and proper action as soon as possible when it comes to oral cancer.
What Should I Do After Receiving Results?
If your results are negative, no further action is required, but you should still have an oral cancer screening every 6 months if you are over the age of 40. These screenings are especially important if you have an increased risk of developing the disease due to factors like tobacco and alcohol use, HPV infection, or a weakened/compromised immune system. In the rare event that your oral exam results or biopsy are positive, we will refer you to a trusted oncology specialist to give you the care you need and help eliminate the disease before it progresses and spreads.