Screening for Oral Cancer
During a routine dental exam, your dentist can undertake an exam to check for signs of oral cancer. The sooner it is identified, the greater the chance of a cure. This procedure involves your dentist looking for sores or white or red patches.
Abnormal sores can be experienced by many people, and usually, they are noncancerous. This exam will not identify whether a sore is cancerous, but if you are found to have one, you may need to have a biopsy.
Should I think about having an oral cancer exam?
It may be beneficial to get screened for oral cancer if you fall into a high-risk category. Your risk of oral cancer can be increased by the following factors:
- Tobacco – Smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars, chewing tobacco, or other tobacco products
- Alcohol – Heavy drinking can increase your risk
- History of oral cancer.
Your dentist can advise if you might need an oral cancer exam. They will also be able to let you know how you can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with oral cancer, including not drinking alcohol and stopping smoking.