What to Expect at Your Next Oral Cancer Screening

What to Expect at Your Next Oral Cancer Screening from Hulen Smiles in Fort Worth, TXWhile examining the inside of the mouth is already a typical part of a regular dental check-up, for many people it is also worth scheduling an appointment for an oral cancer screening. The American Cancer Society predicts that more than 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancer in 2020, and together these two types of cancers are expected to cause more than 10,000 deaths.

Risk factors

If you are wondering if it is necessary for you to get a cancer screening, it can be helpful to know some of the risk factors. The most common one is smoking, with an even greater likelihood of cancer if that is combined with a habit of heavy alcohol use. It is thought that these two factors may be what account for oral cancer being twice as common in men. Sun exposure is another indicator of concern for lip cancer specifically. Presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) also has a rising correlation with cancer of the mouth.

Screening process

An oral cancer screening appointment involves a closer examination than is typical for a routine dental cleaning. Here is what can be expected:

A more detailed intake

The dental or medical professional should ask a number of questions, and it is important to be extremely honest when answering. It is common to dismiss certain symptoms as being no big deal or just one's imagination. Even if it seems like it is nothing, be sure to mention whatever comes to mind during the intake. These are some of the more common symptoms that may be asked about:

  • Ongoing hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Earaches, especially one-sided ones
  • Feeling small nodules on the side of the neck
  • Changes in the voice

Visual inspection

This type of screening entails far more than just looking inside the mouth. The screener also looks at the lips, face and neck to check for any indications of issues that need further investigation.

Physical examination

The screener next conducts a physical examination, using gloved hands to palpate, or touch, the different areas of the mouth, face and neck. This includes checking inside the mouth, underneath the tongue and inside the cheeks and lips, as well as palpating the body and sides of the tongue. The neck and face are also physically examined. At the same time, the professional continues the visual observation of all these areas.

Next steps

Depending on the results of the oral cancer screening, patients may be advised about suggested next steps. These may entail further examinations or diagnostic tests if any abnormalities were noticed.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Cancer Screenings in Fort Worth, TX.

Conclusion

As with any type of cancer, the earlier that oral cancer is caught, the better the chance of a positive outcome. Oftentimes, there is no pain present in the early stages of this condition. Rather, the changes are often subtle, so it can take a trained professional who has screened hundreds of patients to be able to catch small warning signs.

Request an appointment or call Hulen Smiles at 817-760-4082 for an appointment in our Fort Worth office.

Related Posts

5 Considerations For Denture Relining

If a denture patient is experiencing sore gums, a denture relining may offer a better fit and more confidence. Dentures can have definite advantages, but only when they fit properly, allowing chewing and speech to be as normal as possible. Relining can help make this possible.There are three main types of relines, each with its…

Choosing Between Full Dentures And Partial Dentures

As teeth get older, you may have to consider replacing them with dentures or partial dentures. This can lead to a lot of questions, especially if a person has never owned dentures previously. It is important to understand the current condition of one’s teeth in order to determine the right denture fit. Teeth naturally wear…

Does Invisalign Really Work Without Causing Tooth Problems

Does Invisalign really work? This treatment is often marketed as a more convenient alternative to braces, but some patients are concerned about its effectiveness. Invisalign® may sound too good to be true — patients do not have to worry about avoiding certain foods that may become stuck in traditional braces.Like traditional braces, Invisalign® is designed…