The Importance of Regular Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are a vital part of your regular dental checkup and cleaning appointments. Like all forms of cancer, oral cancer is more-often treated successfully when it is detected and addressed early. An oral cancer screening will be conducted at the comprehensive exam. The oral tissues as well as the lymph nodes in the neck will be examined for anomalies. If a lesion is suspected, further action will be taken to identify and determine appropriate treatment.
Oral Cancer Self-Screening
During your oral cancer screening, Dr. Khan may notice signs that you cannot detect on your own. Yet, we still advise that you routinely perform a self-screening every month between your checkup and cleaning appointments. While in front of a mirror, and preferably with the help of a smaller mirror, look carefully along your gums, cheeks, palate, throat, and other soft oral tissues for:
- Lesions or sores that do not heal after several days
- Thickening skin on your cheek or the lining of your mouth
- White or red patches, even if they do not hurt or itch
- Pain and/or soreness in your throat or oral tissues
- Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
- Stiffness or discomfort in your jaw
- Discoloration or changes in the texture of your tongue
- Anything else that may seem out of the ordinary among your mouth and throat tissues
Facts About Oral Cancer
- The term, oral cancer, encompasses cancers of the mouth, tongue, throat, tonsils, esophagus, and other oral tissues. Considered a head and neck cancer, it is the most prevalent of all the cancers in its class.
- While tobacco is a well-known contributor to oral cancer, there are several things that can influence your risk, including heavy alcohol use, excessive exposure to the sun, and HPV infection, to name just a few.