Oral Cancer Exam
Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.
During your dental visit, Reynolds Dentistry can talk to you about your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.
An oral cancer exam is painless and quick — it takes only a few minutes. Your regular dental checkup is an excellent opportunity to have the exam. Here’s what to expect:
Preparing for the exam: If you have dentures (plates) or partials, you will be asked to remove them.
We will inspect your face, neck, lips and mouth to look for any signs of cancer.
With both hands, we will feel the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, checking for lumps that may suggest cancer.
We will then look at and feel the insides of your lips and cheeks to check for possible signs of cancer, such as red and/or white patches.
Next, we will have you stick out your tongue so it can be checked for swelling or abnormal color or texture.
Using gauze, we will then gently pull your tongue to one side, then the other, to check the base of your tongue. The underside of your tongue will also be checked.
In addition, we will look at the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat.
Finally, we will put one finger on the floor of your mouth and, with the other hand under your chin, gently press down to check for lumps or sensitivity.