Oral Cancer Exam

According to research from the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are detected annually, with more than 7,000 resulting in fatalities. However, oral cancer can be easily identified through regular exams and effectively treated when detected early.

Oral cancer initially has no noticeable symptoms, making dental examinations crucial in its detection. It can manifest in various histologic types, including teratoma, adenocarcinoma, and melanoma. The most prevalent type is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, typically originating in the tissues of the lips and mouth.

Oral cancers can frequently develop in various areas of the oral cavity and maxillofacial region, such as:

  1. Lips
  2. Mouth
  3. Tongue
  4. Salivary Glands
  5. Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
  6. Gums
  7. Face

Reasons for oral cancer examinations

Regular oral cancer exams are essential for the following reasons:

  1. Early detection: Exams help identify signs of oral cancer at an early stage, increasing the chances of successful treatment.

  2. Prevalence: Oral cancer is a significant health concern with thousands of new cases each year, making regular exams important for monitoring and detecting any abnormalities.

  3. Asymptomatic nature: Oral cancer may not show noticeable symptoms initially, making professional exams crucial for early detection.

  4. Risk factors: Certain habits like tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and HPV infection increase the risk of oral cancer, necessitating regular exams for at-risk individuals.

  5. Prevention and education: Exams provide an opportunity to educate patients about risk factors, the importance of early detection, and preventive measures.

The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:

During an oral cancer exam, the following areas and aspects are typically investigated:

    1. Mouth: The entire oral cavity, including the gums, cheeks, and roof of the mouth, is examined for any unusual growths, lesions, or changes in texture or color.

    2. Tongue: The top, sides, and underside of the tongue are checked for any unusual bumps, ulcers, or changes in size, shape, or color.

    3. Salivary glands: The salivary glands, located inside the mouth and near the jaw, are evaluated for any lumps, swelling, or tenderness.

    4. Oropharyngeal region (throat): The back of the throat, tonsils, and the base of the tongue are examined for any signs of abnormalities, such as persistent soreness, redness, or white patches.

    5. Neck and lymph nodes: The neck and lymph nodes in the area are palpated for any swelling, tenderness, or enlarged nodes, which could indicate the spread of cancerous cells.

    6. Lips: The outer and inner surfaces of the lips are examined for any abnormalities, such as sores, discoloration, or persistent lumps.

Oral cancer exams, diagnosis and treatment

The painless oral cancer examination involves visually inspecting the oral cavity, feeling the face, glands, and neck for any abnormalities, and using lasers to detect hidden changes. If abnormalities are found, a diagnostic impression is made, and a biopsy may be performed. Treatment options depend on the diagnosis and can include excision, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Regular check-ups are important, and a dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be done annually.

If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer, please contact our practice.

Contact Us.We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form.

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