most commonly involves the lips or the tongue. It may also occur on the cheek lining, floor of the mouth, gums (gingiva) or the roof of the mouth (palate). Most oral cancers are a type called squamous cell carcinomas. These tend to spread quickly.
Our office has the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. Together, we can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. Know the early signs and see our office regularly.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of our dental examination. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it.
We will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue. Harmful oral spots or sores often look identical to those that are harmless, but testing can tell them apart. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, we may choose to perform a simple test, such as a brush test. A brush test collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth. The cells are sent to a laboratory for analysis. If precancerous cells are found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a separate procedure.
Prevention and Detection
Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. Many types of abnormal cells can develop in the oral cavity in the form of red or white spots. Some are harmless and benign, some are cancerous and others are pre-cancerous, meaning they can develop into cancer if not detected early and removed.
Finding and removing epithelial dysplasias before they become cancer can be one of the most effective methods for reducing the incidence of cancer.
Knowing the risk factors and visiting our office for oral cancer screenings can help prevent this deadly disease.
Other factors that may increase the risk for oral cancer include:
- Chronic irritation (such as from rough teeth, dentures, or fillings)
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
- Taking medications that weaken the immune system (immunosuppressants)
- Poor dental and oral hygiene