Blog

Oral Cancer and the Screening Process

Oral Cancer Screenings are your best chance for detection.

Oral cancer screenings may seem intimidating, but they are actually pretty quick and painless!

October is National Oral Hygiene Month and to celebrate the Farber Center is offering 50% off all oral cancer screenings this month! We are aware that anything with the word “cancer” in the name can be intimidating, but it is vital to remember early diagnosis is the most important factor in successfully treating oral cancer.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

The Mayo Clinic lists a few factors that can greatly increase your risk of mouth cancer:

  • Tobacco use of any kind: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc…
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Excessive sun exposure to your lips
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • A weakened immune system

Avoiding the risk factors that are within your control will certainly help, but you should know that as much as 30% of people diagnosed with oral cancer did not engage in any of these activities.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

The change in the weather causes many of us to develop colds and a few of the symptoms associated with oral cancer are similar to symptoms of a cold, so be sure to keep track of when they start. If the symptoms last longer than two weeks however we recommend visiting someone at The Farber Center.

  • A sore throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Difficult or painful chewing
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Tongue pain
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Loose teeth
  • A growth, lump or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth
  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • A sore that bleeds

The Screening

Typically, the screening is two-part. There is a visual exam and a physical exam.

Visual Exam:

In the visual exam, we will inspect the patient’s face, neck, lips, inside of the nose, and oral cavity. The patient must take out all removable dental appliances to uncover areas of their mouth. The periodontist will then check for asymmetries, swelling, bumps, patches of color, ulcerations, or any other abnormality.

Physical Exam:

During or after the visual exam, we will check the patients head, cheeks, jaw, under the chin, and oral cavity for unusual masses.  Lessened mobility when opening your mouth or pain while being checked for masses may also be signs of oral cancer.

After the Screening

Oral cancer screenings are typically precautionary and not diagnostic, so if something is abnormal a patient might be asked to come in for more regular screenings as a safety measure. The exams are not very complicated and early diagnosis is a patient’s best method to combat oral cancer.

To take advantage of our 50% off oral cancer screening and put your mind at ease fill-out this form: https://longislandperio.com/contact.php or call 631.265.4442 for our Hauppauge branch or 631.758.3700 for our Medford branch.