Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is a procedure that we perform to search for any signs or symptoms of cancer or precancerous conditions in one's mouth. These screenings aim to identify oral cancer as early as possible so we can have a higher chance of curing it. Cancer or precancerous lesions that can cause mouth cancer are easiest to remove and cure when they are in early stages.
Dr. Gregory J. Gorman, DMD will examine your mouth during routine dental check-ups to check for symptoms of oral cancer. He can also conduct extra tests to diagnose abnormal cells in your mouth.
There are several factors that can raise your risk of mouth cancer. This includes previous mouth cancer diagnoses and having a history of significant sun exposure (which also increases your risk of lip cancer). Other factors include heavy use of alcohol and tobacco usage (including chewing tobacco, pipes, snuff, cigars, and cigarettes).
If oral cancer is a concern of yours, ask Dr. Gregory J. Gorman, DMD about a cancer screening. You should also ask about how to reduce your risk of mouth cancer, such as quitting smoking and alcohol.
If we locate an abnormal sore, you may need to undergo future testing so we can figure out what caused it. The only definitive way to determine whether or not you have oral cancer is to do a biopsy, where we remove some of the abnormal cells and test them for cancer.
The Oral Screening Procedure
Most often, oral cancer screenings don't require you to undergo any kind of preparation. The procedure is usually performed during a routine dental exam.
When we conduct an oral cancer screening exam, we will search the inside of your mouth for mouth sores or red or white patches. Using gloves, Dr. Gregory J. Gorman, DMD will also feel the tissues in your mouth to see if you have any lumps or other abnormalities. If you wear full or partial dentures, we will ask you to remove them if possible so we can check the underlying tissue.
We also employ some other specialized tests following the oral exam proper. These additional tests are meant to screen for oral cancer. In one of them, we rinse your mouth with a special blue dye, which is then absorbed by abnormal cells that begin to appear blue. Another exam has us shine a light into your mouth that makes healthy tissue appear darker and causes abnormal tissue to appear lighter.
If we find any symptoms of oral cancer or precancerous growths, we may schedule a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks to see if the affected area is still there and whether or not it has changed or grown larger. We may also do a biopsy, in which we remove cells for lab tests to see if the cells are cancerous.
It is best to prevent cancer by avoiding tobacco usage, excessive alcohol usage, and overexposure to sunlight.
For more information, please contact our office at (970) 812-3959.