What is an oral cancer screening?
An oral cancer screening is a visual and physical examination of the mouth, throat, and surrounding tissues to check for signs of oral cancer or other abnormalities. The screening is typically performed by a dentist or oral healthcare professional during a routine dental exam.
During an oral cancer screening, the dentist or healthcare professional will examine the inside of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat. They will look for any signs of abnormalities, such as:
Red or white patches on the oral tissues
Sores or lesions that do not heal
Lumps or thickening of the oral tissues
Changes in the color or texture of the oral tissues
Difficulty swallowing or speaking
In addition to a visual examination, the dentist or healthcare professional may also feel the oral tissues for any lumps or abnormalities and ask the patient about any symptoms they may be experiencing.
Early detection of oral cancer is important for successful treatment, and an oral cancer screening can help detect cancer in its early stages. If the dentist or healthcare professional detects any abnormalities during the screening, they may recommend further testing or a biopsy to determine if cancer is present.