Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screening is a branch of preventive dentistry. In this screening, our doctors will examine your oral cavity for any signs of cancerous or precancerous changes. The cancer screen's primary aim is to detect the cancerous conditions before it progresses into the later stages, which makes caring and treatment more complicated.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is predicted that oral and throat cancer cases will account for approximately 53,000 cases this year in the USA alone. An oral cancer screen is usually performed at every dental visit. If you have not had a single dental visit in a year, Madison Family Dental Associates recommends that you book one today.
Risk Factors for Having Oral Cancer and How you Can Reduce them
Certain factors increase your chances of being diagnosed with oral or oropharynx cancer. Suppose you are a heavy smoker and have high alcohol consumption. In that case, you are at a greater risk of having oral cancer, previous family history of cancer, and greater exposure to UV rays increases the chances of being diagnosed with lips cancer. Additionally, if your diet includes a lot of meat, poultry, and seafood, you are significantly at risk.
Adopting better habits can reduce your chances of being diagnosed with cancer. However, this does not eliminate it. By reducing your alcohol intake, stopping tobacco consumption, and using a sunscreen infused lip balm to protect your lips against UV rays, you can reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.
How are Oral Cancer Screenings Performed?
Oral cancer screening has two separate screenings one for the inner structures and one for the outer structures. Examination of the structures within your oral cavity is known as intraoral screening. During this screening, you will be asked to stick your tongue out, and our dentist will examine it on both sides for the presence of ulcers and abnormal swellings.
Secondly, the floor of your mouth will be examined. It is the area underneath your tongue and is U-shaped. You have sublingual and submandibular gland ducts in this area, which will be palpated to feel for any masses. Next, the hard and soft palettes of your mouth will be examined. Your tongue will be pressed down for a better view, and our dentist will take notes regarding any abnormality, such as red or white spots. Lastly, your tonsils will be palpated.
Our dentist will examine your entire face for symmetry during the examination of the outer structures (extraoral exam). Next, your eyes' movement will be checked to see if any nerves are involved, your ears and nasal cavities will be examined for any bumps and masses. Additionally, the neck is palpated. This screening occurs with you on an eye level with our dentist. The examination involves the palpation of several areas such as the neck, the larynx, and the pharynx muscles. Finally, the thyroid is examined externally to note for any abnormalities.
Early cancer detection can prevent the need for complex procedures. It is important to get your oral cancer exam done yearly if you are at high risk. Note that not all tumors are cancerous, some are harmless (benign). To book your exam, give us a call at 608-274-5970 or visit Madison Family Dental Associates.
5709 Odana Road,
Madison, WI 53719
Mon - Thurs: 7 am - 7 pm
Friday: 7 am - 4 pm
502 Nelson Court,
DeForest, WI 53532
Monday: 8 am - 5 pm
Tuesday: 7 am - 4 pm
Wednesday: 8 am - 5 pm
Thursday: 8 am - 5 pm