Oral cancer screening is a medical examination carried out by either a doctor or a dentist, to detect signs of oral cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. The aim here is the early detection of oral cancer, at a stage where the probability of a cure is still high.
You can do this screening during your regular dental checkup for mouth cancer. Your dentist would be looking out for mouth sores, and red or white patches, and would conduct additional tests such as biopsy, in order to make a proper diagnosis of the condition of these areas. This is because the presence of some of these signs may not necessarily mean the presence of cancer.
Risk factors for oral cancer
Although virtually anyone can suffer from oral cancer, there are certain factors that create a high risk for the occurrence of the disease. These factors are:
- Use of tobacco – Snuffing/chewing of tobacco leaves/powder, smoking pipes, cigars, cigarettes etc
- Too much exposure to sunlight – high risk for lip cancer.
- Prior case of oral cancer
The above are some of the risk factors that help your dentist determine whether you have any need for an oral cancer screening. They also help educate you on how to quit certain habits that increase the risk for oral cancer.