The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer can affect any part of your mouth, jaw, or neck. This is why it is important to get oral cancer screenings, which help to identify early signs, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful treatment.
During routine exams, our dentists diligently screen patients for both cancerous and precancerous indicators.
What Does Oral Cancer Screening Involve?
We can check for oral cancer by performing a physical exam of the entire oral cavity. This will include looking at your jaws, neck, and face for any visible swelling, bumps or lumps.
Performing an Oral Tissue Biopsy
If signs of an oral abnormality are detected during a dental examination, we might recommend a biopsy procedure to extract a tissue sample for laboratory testing to identify the presence of cancer cells. Biopsies at Gloucester Dental Centre are performed by our periodontal specialist, Dr. Charles Alleyn.
Who is at Risk of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is very uncommon, but some people are at a higher risk than others. Those at an increased risk of oral cancer include:
- Patients who smoke heavily or chew tobacco products
- People who consume excess alcohol
- Those whose parents or grandparents had oral cancer (family history)
- Patients who have had excessive exposure to the sun
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can develop in any area of the mouth and can present in a number of different ways, including:
- Unexplained swelling, bumps or lumps
- A pimple, sore or ulcer that doesn’t heal for over three weeks
- Difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving your tongue
- Reddish or white patches on the inside of the cheeks or lips
- Ulcerations under the tongue, throat, floor of the mouth, and tonsils