What Is An Oral Cancer Screening?

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
December 08, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Seeing your dentist for a regular examination and cleaning is a quick and easy appointment many people undergo twice a year. oral cancerHowever, did you know that your normal appointment could also serve as a chance for you to take your preventative dental health to the next level? A cancer screening can take place during your regular appointment and helps your dentist find and diagnose oral cancers at their earliest stages. Learn more about oral cancer screenings with Dr. Ashley Harrison in Chico, CA.

What is an oral cancer screening? 
An oral cancer screening focuses on spotting the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. The earlier you and your dentist find oral cancer, the higher its curability rate. The examination itself involves your dentist thoroughly checking the oral tissues, gums, tongue, mouth and cheeks for signs of abnormalities. Additional testing for abnormal, cancerous and pre-cancerous cells in your mouth can also aid in diagnosis.

Who should have an oral cancer screening? 
Those who are at-risk for oral cancer should have regular screenings. Risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • tobacco users
  • heavy alcohol users
  • those with a family history of oral or other cancers
  • those who have had oral cancer previously
  • history of more sun exposure than usual

The American Cancer Society advises people with an average risk of oral cancer to begin having regular screenings every year after the age of 40. Your dentist can use your dental history and assess your risk to help you determine how often you should have an oral cancer screening.

Oral Cancer Screenings in Chico, CA
Dr. Harrison will carefully examine your oral tissues for any signs of oral cancer. These include white patches, lesions and other abnormalities. A special dye may help your dentist see any instances of cancerous cells inside of the mouth. The dye reacts with the cells, causing that area to change color. This allows your dentist to easily see any areas of concern. You may also have cells scraped from your mouth and examined underneath a microscope for cancerous cells.

For more information on oral cancer screenings, please contact Dr. Harrison in Chico, CA. Call (530) 894-5454 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Harrison today!