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How Many Steps Are There for Oral Cancer Screening?

December 1, 2022
Approximately 50,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma or oral cancer are detected yearly in the United States, resulting in 8000 fatalities. Studies reveal that successful treatment depends on early diagnosis and treatment.
Oral cancer screening in Park Ridge

Although significant advances in surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are now present, the survival rate of patients with oral cancer is fewer than 60 percent with moderate to advanced oral cancer. In addition, survivors generally encounter challenges chewing, eating, speaking, and smiling after undergoing oral cancer treatment, making it essential to diagnose this condition before it advances because therapy for oral cancer detected early is not severe.

Oral cancer is harmful because the early stages do not exhibit symptoms, and you might not realize you have oral cancer until it reaches an advanced stage. Therefore you must get yourself evaluated by the oral cancer screening dentist during your six-monthly visits.

Preparation for Oral Cancer Screening

The only preparation essential for oral cancer screening is to schedule your dental appointment at six monthly intervals without delaying the therapy. In addition, you must ensure that you arrive at the dentist’s practice as scheduled without skipping visits because of dental anxiety or hectic work schedules.

Oral cancer screenings are not painful and will likely not cause any anxiety because the dentist merely looks at all areas of your mouth and neck besides other parts of your oral cavity other than your teeth and gums. Therefore you must prepare to allow your dentist to check all areas discussed above to receive a preventive screening that ensures you are not affected by this harmful condition.

Oral Cancer Screening Procedure Steps

There are several steps for oral cancer screening. The steps are described below for your reference:

  • Tongue and Gauze: This step is when the dentist in Park Ridge, IL, asks you to stick your tongue out as far as likely. The dentist examines the sides and the underside looking for red and white patches and feeling your tongue for lumps. Oral cancer is most common among non-smokers in the tongue.
  • Lip and Cheek Roll: the dentist using gloved hands, feels for lumps and bumps on your cheeks and lips and looks for red and white patches that shouldn’t be in your mouth.
  • Double-Digit Probe: the professional examines the floor of your mouth from the top and bottom, simultaneously looking to detect lumps and red and white patches.
  • Palate Tickle: Your mouth roof is checked for lumps and soft areas on the hard palate as the dentist continues looking for red and white patches.
  • Neck Caress: Enlarged lymph nodes are indicators of infections or something severe. Therefore the dentist checks your neck for abnormalities.
  • Checking Tonsils: the dentist using tongue depressors with a dental mirror pushes your tongue inward to examine your tonsils for symmetry, enlargement, redness, and abnormal bumps.

Oral cancer screenings don’t require you to schedule appointments with oncologists or other medical professionals. Instead, you receive the screenings when you schedule your six-monthly meetings with your dentist for cleanings and exams.

The dentist completes oral cancer screening in under five minutes, making you wonder why the dentist looks at areas of your mouth unrelated to your teeth and gums. However, the screening helps prevent significant problems you might develop if you allow the condition to remain undetected.

What after Oral Cancer Screening?

If the Park Ridge dentist discovers any abnormalities in your mouth that might indicate oral cancer or finds precancerous lesions, they might recommend a follow-up visit in a few weeks to determine if the abnormal area still exists or if it has changed by enlarging over time. In addition, they might recommend a biopsy to remove cells for pathology testing to determine whether cancer cells are present.

The dentist might perform the biopsy or refer you to a medical professional specializing in oncology for a diagnosis and treatment for oral cancer if the condition affects you.

Although oral cancer screening helps detect irregular patches in the mouth, it doesn’t help detect all areas of abnormal cells merely by viewing the inside of your mouth. In addition, dentists don’t treat oral cancer but simply screen you for strange lumps or patches in the mouth as a preventive measure.

If abnormal patches and lumps are detected, and the diagnosis confirms oral cancer, you must receive therapies like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for over four months before you gain control over the disease. However, if detected in the earliest stages, the treatment outcomes for oral cancer are optimal and might help prevent the need for intensive treatments.

Complete Health Dentistry performs oral cancer screening on all patients visiting them for dental exams. If you think you must also receive the exam, you can schedule your meeting with the practice to get screened for oral cancer.

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