A dentist or doctor will examine you for oral cancer screening to check for any precancerous or cancerous diseases. Oral cancer screening aims to detect the disease early when there is a better possibility of curing it.
Why is oral cancer screening done?
Oral cancer screening aims to find mouth cancer early on when it is easiest to treat and most likely to be cured, and precancerous lesions may develop into mouth cancer. However, since there is no scientific evidence that an oral exam for oral cancer screening saves lives, not all groups agree on its advantages. While some organizations advocate screening, others claim there is insufficient data to support such a claim.
Though studies haven’t conclusively shown it, people with a high risk of mouth cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening. Oral cancer risk factors include the following:
- any type of tobacco use, including snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes and cigarettes among others
- heavy drinking
- Previously diagnosed with oral cancer
How do you prepare for an oral cancer screening?
There is no special preparation needed before an oral cancer screening. Usually, oral cancer screening is done during a regular dental appointment.
What can you expect from an oral cancer screening?
Your dentist will examine the interior of your mouth during an oral cancer screening exam to search for any sores or red or white areas. Your dentist will also feel the tissues in your mouth with gloved hands to look for lumps or other anomalies. The dentist may also check your throat and neck for lumps.