Find peace of mind through an in-office Oral Cancer Screening. Screenings are non-invasive and help to discover any abnormailities within the mouth.
An oral cancer screening is a visual and physical exam of the oral cavity and connected tissues. It can reassure a patient that there are no apparent problems, or trigger early treatment if there are. A doctor or dentist might suggest screening in response to one's lifestyle choices, or the patient may request it simply as a precautionary measure.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer screenings should take place before symptoms begin to show.
Whether the patient is sitting upright or lying down, explains the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), a dentist looks for asymmetries, swellings, bumps, patches of color, ulcerations or other abnormalities. To look inside the nose and mouth, the dentist uses a light and mirror to see clearly. The patient may be asked to say "Ahh" to expose areas in the throat that are otherwise difficult to see. Other tools can help the doctor evaluate the gums, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, tonsils, throat and underneath the tongue.
AFTER YOUR ORAL CANCER SCREENING
An oral cancer screening is precautionary, not diagnostic. If a doctor or dentist finds nothing abnormal during the exam, the patient may be asked to return at regular intervals for further screening – especially if he or she uses tobacco, drinks alcohol or practices other behavior that increases the risk of oral cancer.
Sometimes a doctor or dentist refers a patient for further tests to get to the bottom of a certain symptom. Keep in mind, results that require further investigation are not a cancer diagnosis.
A screening for oral cancer is an opportunity for a person to talk to the doctor or dentist about fears and concerns, and to ask for advice about reducing his risk. If you're nervous about a screening, write a list of questions before you go. Just a short examination can put your mind at ease.