April 16, 2024

Oral Cancer Exam Screening: To Help Give You A New Life

Oral cancer is a prevailing cancer of the head and neck region, owing to genetic predisposition, several unhealthy habits, and the presence of infections. It can affect several areas of your oral cavity such as the tongue, cheeks, palate, or throat. Early detection is crucial to help curb the disease and improve your quality of life.  

Omaha, NE dental practice has skilled and highly skilled and highly qualified dental professionals that offer a compassionate approach toward oral cancer screening at an early stage when the disease is most curable.

A comprehensive guide to oral cancer 

Cancer is a medical term characterized by the abnormal multiplication and growth of cells that mutate to form lumps or swellings in different parts of your body. Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a common form of head and neck cancer. 

Oral cancer can develop in the following parts of your oral cavity:

  • Lips
  • The floor of your mouth
  • Palate (roof of the mouth)
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Salivary glands
  • Oropharynx (throat)
  • Face 
  • Cheek lining 

About 75% of people develop oral cancer due to the following habits:

  • A family history or genetic predisposition (abnormal gene mutation)
  • Smoking 
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun without sun protection
  • History of human papillomavirus (HPV)

Importance of oral cancer screening 

The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or any precancerous lesions (overgrowths that may lead to cancer or malignancy) at an early stage. This is because cancer at the initial stage is easiest to treat and most likely cured. Cancer when progressed to a later stage is difficult to treat with a poor prognosis.

The warning signs of oral cancer 

Oral examination reveals the following warning signs:

  • Red patches on the floor of your mouth that fail to heal. 
  • Slow-healing sores that bleed easily 
  • Hardened white or gray, raised lesions inside your mouth (leukoplakia)
  • Presence of sore lumps or thickenings in your mouth or throat
  • Inability to open your mouth completely
  • Loss of taste
  • Burning sensation in the mouth

Oral cancer screening

Your dentist may use a combination of oral cancer exam methods that include the following:

Screening tests 

  • Medical and family history records 
  • Clinical examination of the oral cavity 
  • Palpation test to check for lumps or bumps
  • Laboratory tests like blood and urine analysis 
  • Imaging tests, including X-rays, MRI, and CT scan

Specific tests 

  • Fluorescent light test
  • Exfoliative cytology

Keynote 

Regular annual oral cancer screening is important since it aids in early detection. This helps your dentist design an appropriate treatment plan for you based on your disease prognosis.