Mouth Cancer Screening

Reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer with regular screening checks.

What is Mouth Cancer Screening?

Studies show that mouth cancer is on the increase and that early detection dramatically improves the chances of recovery. Late detection of mouth cancers has resulted in a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma, with about 2,700 deaths per year in the UK. Mouth cancer screening is a simple procedure performed at a dental practice that involves the following: A detailed analysis of your oral health history to determine any risk factors that you might have. A thorough examination of the outside of your mouth, head and neck by observation and touch. A thorough internal examination of your mouth, including the inside of your cheeks and under your tongue. A handheld scanning device may also be used to examine any lumps or lesions that you might have. Any inconclusive findings will be referred to a specialist consultant.

Why’s it so important?

The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured. But no studies have proved that oral cancer screening saves lives, so not all organizations agree about the benefits of an oral exam for oral cancer screening. Some groups recommend screening, while others say there isn’t enough evidence to make a recommendation. 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 The number of people diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers has been rising over the last several years, though it isn’t clear why. An increasing number of these cancers are associated with the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV).

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