Oral Cancer Screening
About 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Only about 57% of these people will be alive in the next five years. Since oral cancer is a deadly disease, detecting it at an early stage can help patients seek proper treatment. By the time the patient notices the symptoms of oral cancers on their own, it may already have spread.
At Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, we also offer cancer screening with our comprehensive oral exams. It is also important to remember that just because we recommend an oral cancer screening does not mean you have exhibited any symptoms of cancer.
Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Done?
At Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, oral cancer screening is an examination performed by Dr. Shohreh Sabeti to look for precancerous or cancerous conditions in your mouth. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer screening should be performed before symptoms start to appear.
An oral cancer screening is a visual and physical examination of the mouth and connected tissues. Its goal is to reassure the patient that there are no apparent problems, or to start early treatment if there are any.
Oral cancer screening can be requested by the patient as a precautionary measure or recommended by us due to a patient’s lifestyle choices. Medical organizations do not entirely agree on whether healthy people without risk factors for oral cancer require the screening. Besides that, no single oral cancer exam has yet proven to save lives. Still, we may decide to recommend an oral screening exam based on your risk factors.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
There are a number of identified risk factors that can increase the chances of you developing oral cancer. Experts believe that if you have a lifestyle that can contribute towards developing oral cancer, you should get your mouth screened.
Some common risk factors include:
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening Session
During an oral cancer screening at Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, we will perform a visual and physical examination of your mouth. This will involve checking the inside and outside of your lips, your gums, your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, the back of your throat, the tonsils, and the roof of your mouth.
If you wear any removable prosthetic devices like dentures, you will be required to remove them before the exam to increase visibility and access to your mouth.
During the visual exams, we will check your mouth for any unusual signs like red or white patches, sores, crusty ulcers, inexplicable bleeding in certain areas of the mouth, lumps, or color changes.
During the physical exam, we will use our fingers to feel if you have any lumps or nodules inside your mouth and feel under your chin and the side of your neck and jaw as well.
We may also ask you to rinse your mouth with a special non-toxic dye. Any abnormal cells in your mouth will absorb the dye making the problem areas stand out.
Results of the Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a precautionary measure. If, after the exam, we find something unusual in your mouth, we may ask you to return at a later date for further screening, particularly if you have risk factors. This is done to see if the abnormal area in your mouth has changed over time.
We may also suggest a biopsy of the abnormal area to see if it contains cancer cells. However, keep in mind that these tests do not necessarily mean that you have cancer symptoms. Even if you are diagnosed with cancer, early diagnosis can reduce the risk of complications during treatment.
An oral cancer screening is also an opportunity for the patient to express their concerns and learn about healthier lifestyle habits that can reduce the risk of cancer. A 5-minute oral cancer screening can put your mind at ease. To schedule an oral cancer screening appointment with us, call us at (213) 314-0636 today.