Residents of the greater Boston area can visit Dr. Roland E. Vanaria and Dr. Tijana Stijacic at their practice in Newton, Massachusetts to screen for oral cancer. As skilled health clinicians who practice preventive measures, they will examine your mouth for any signs of precancerous conditions. Early detection is the best possibility for a cure. Call or book an appointment online with their practice, Roland E. Vanaria, DDS, MAGD, today.
What is screening?
Screening refers to an examination for signs of mouth cancer to catch it early while there is still a chance for a cure. Among the signs of mouth cancer are:
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal
- Patches of red or white on the tongue, tonsils, gums, or inside lining
- A persistent sore throat
- Tongue or mouth numbness
- Chronic bad breath
- Jaw pain
What are risk factors of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can be caused by habits and a genetic predisposition. Risk factors include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- History of significant sun exposure: Which increases the risk of lip cancer
People who are at higher risk may benefit from oral cancer screenings.
What can I expect during an oral cancer screening?
Oral cancer screening exams are non-invasive as the dentist is generally just checking for superficial signs. Your dentist will initially conduct a visual examination to look out for red or white patches or mouth sores. The next step is to check for lumps or other tissue abnormalities. The dentist will also ask that you remove any dentures that aren’t fixed.
Some dentists prefer to use additional tests to screen for oral cancer, although it’s not proven that they are any more effective. These special tests include:
- Rinsing your mouth with a special blue dye before the oral exam, which may cause any abnormal cells to show up blue
- Shining a light into your mouth during the exam, which makes the healthy tissue appear dark and the abnormal tissue appear light
What happens next if an oral cancer screening turns up abnormal?
If your dentist does notice any abnormalities in your mouth that suggest mouth cancer or precancerous lesions, he or she may recommend a follow-up visit to note any change or growth in the abnormal area over time, or a biopsy procedure to remove a sample of the abnormal cells to be sent for testing.