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Oral Cancer Exam

Oral Cancer Exam

An oral cancer screening is a vital examination to detect any signs of cancer in your mouth, including mouth, jaw, and tongue cancer. During this screening, various areas of your mouth are carefully examined, including the cheek lining, floor and roof of your mouth, gums, lips, tongue, and tonsils.

Oral cancer is a prevalent form of cancer affecting the head and neck, with approximately 54,000 Americans receiving a diagnosis of oral or oropharyngeal cancer each year. Sadly, oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of 57%, indicating that just over half of those diagnosed with oral cancer are alive five years post-diagnosis. The high fatality rates associated with oral cancer are often due to late detection in its development.

While oral cancer is not particularly difficult to diagnose, it is often discovered too late. This is where oral cancer screenings play a crucial role—they are the best tool available for early detection and prompt treatment. At Gen Z Dentistry in Glendale, NY, we prioritize your oral health, which is why we offer comprehensive oral cancer screenings as part of our services.

Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

An oral cancer screening is crucial for detecting cancer before symptoms develop, allowing for early intervention and potentially more successful treatment outcomes. Healthcare providers recommend these screenings as a proactive measure to identify any signs or abnormalities that could indicate the presence of oral cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Persistent Sores: Sores in the mouth or on the lips that do not heal and may bleed easily.
  • Lumps or Bumps: Unexplained lumps, bumps, or thickening in the oral cavity, neck, or jaw area.
  • Red or White Patches: Red or white patches on the tongue, gums, or lining of the mouth.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Trouble swallowing, feeling like something is stuck in the throat.
  • Chronic Sore Throat: Persistent sore throat that does not go away or gets worse over time.
  • Changes in Voice: Hoarseness or changes in the voice that persist for an extended period.
  • Ear Pain: Unexplained pain in the ears that is not related to other conditions.
  • Numbness or Tingling: Numbness or tingling in the mouth, tongue, or lips.

What to Expect During Your Oral Cancer Screening at Gen Z Dentistry

When you undergo an oral cancer screening, we will employ various methods to thoroughly examine your mouth and throat for any signs of abnormalities. Here's what you can expect during your screening:

Visual Exam: The screening typically begins with a visual examination of your mouth and throat. We will carefully look for lesions, which are areas of abnormal tissue. These abnormalities may include leukoplakia, characterized by thick white patches, and erythroplakia, which presents as abnormally red areas.

Palpation: Next, our dentists will gently use their fingers to palpate for any lumps or bumps around your face, neck, and jaw. This hands-on examination is crucial for detecting any unusual or concerning growths. During the process, it's important to communicate any areas that feel sore or tender. Palpation allows us to identify potential abnormalities that may require further investigation and evaluation.

Oral Cancer Screening Dye: We also utilize oral cancer screening tools, such as toluidine blue dye, to enhance the examination. The dye is applied to any suspicious lesions, aiding in the identification of areas that may be likely to develop into cancerous tissue. This method allows for a more thorough and precise screening process.

Oral Cancer Screening Light: Special lights are utilized to identify abnormal tissues in the mouth. You may be asked to rinse your mouth with a fluorescent mouthwash. Subsequently, a unique light is directed into your mouth, causing healthy tissue to appear dark and abnormal tissue to appear white. This technique creates a contrast that aids in distinguishing potential areas of concern.

In general, oral cancer screenings are quick and efficient, typically taking less than five minutes to complete. The combination of visual examination, palpation, oral cancer screening dye, and specialized lighting allows for a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health.

What Happens After Your Oral Cancer Screening?

Following your oral cancer screening, we will discuss the findings with you. It's important to note that while screenings look for signs of cancer, further testing is required to obtain an official diagnosis.

  • Cytology: In this test, cells from your mouth are collected using a brush, piece of cotton, or wooden stick. These cells are then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine if they are abnormal. Cytology helps to identify any concerning changes in the cells of your mouth.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is a more invasive test where a provider removes a small portion of the abnormal tissue for further analysis. The tissue sample is sent to a pathologist who examines it under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. Biopsies provide a definitive diagnosis and guide treatment decisions.

At Gen Z Dentistry in Glendale, NY, we emphasize the importance of follow-up care and further testing after an oral cancer screening. If you've had an oral cancer screening and are worried about the results if further testing is advised, or if you observe any changes in your mouth like persistent sores, lumps, or red/white patches, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to provide support, answer your questions, and ensure that you receive the necessary care.

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Fri: 9.00 AM to 2.00 PM

Sat & Sun: CLOSED

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