Oral cancer screening is a routine examination performed by a dentist to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. As we all know the early detection of cancerous lesions leads to a greater chance for a cure.
People with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening, though studies haven't clearly proved that. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
* Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff among others.
* Heavy alcohol use
* Previous oral cancer diagnosis
* History of significant sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer.
Your dentist evaluates the entire oral cavity including your tongue, floor of the mouth, lips, hard and soft palate, oropharynx, tonsils, base of tongue, head and neck lymph nodes.
Ask your dentist whether oral cancer screening is appropriate for you. Also ask about ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer.