Oral Cancer Screening

When visiting the dentist it is routine that an intraoral and extraoral
visual and tactile examination is completed on patients. The dentist
assesses the following parts of the patient’s mucosal and soft tissues
including but not limited to the tongue, under the tongue – floor of the
mouth, roof of the mouth, gums, cheeks, jaw bone, lymph nodes, and the
upper part of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. If there are no clinically
evident lesions, no further treatment is indicated. If there is a
suspicious area then the patient will be referred to a specialist for
biopsy of the lesion. A biopsy is the clearest way to understand and
diagnose.

Tobacco and the human papillomavirus – version 16, HPV16 are two of the
most common causative agents. HPV16 is a sexually transmitted virus that is
connected to the increasing incidence of oral cancer in young nonsmoking
oropharyngeal cancer patients. Patients that both smoke and drink alcohol
have a fifteen times greater risk of developing oral cancer than others. (
https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/)Oral cancers are approximately 3%
of total cancers diagnosed in 2017. If found early and treated the five
year survival rate approximately doubles.

At home it is important to monitor any sore or irritation that does not go
away within three weeks, red or white patches, a lump or rough spots on
normally smooth areas. “Other symptoms include; a painless lump or mass
which can be felt inside the mouth or neck, pain or difficulty in
swallowing, speaking, or chewing, any wart like masses, hoarseness which
lasts for a long time, or any numbness in the oral/facial region.
Unilateral persistent ear ache can also be a warning sign.” (
https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/)

If you have any questions or concerns – make an appointment as soon as
possible at Metropolitan Dental Care!

For more information: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2017.07.021

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/screening/

Author
Dr. Leelah Jaberi, DDS

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