Oral cancer is one of the most common types of cancer which affect a significant number of people. Doctors need to follow certain protocols to detect oral cancer. One should go for oral cancer examinations whenever their dentist recommends them to do. The doctors might go for a thorough check-up of the symptoms before suggesting any invasive tests.
Given below are some tests that one can expect when they visit a doctor for an oral cancer examination:
The physical exam is the first step that doctors will follow to detect oral cancer. The doctor feels the patient’s head, cheek, and jaws to detect the presence of any lumps. They also check if any nodules are present in the oral cavity. Most signs of oral cancer are painful, unlike other forms of cancers. The doctor also examines the throat and asks if the patient experiences any pain.
Visual exams are done by experienced doctors who have dealt with cases of oral cancer. The doctor will examine the regions of the cheek, neck, and the oral cavity. Sometimes, they may ask the patient to remove all dental attachments before the oral cancer examination. The doctor looks for asymmetries, color patches, and swelling in the mouth as it might be cancerous. The dentists may use several instruments while looking at the gums, teeth, tongue, and other parts of the mouth.
Different tools used during oral cancer screening
Doctors may have to use different tools to carry out oral cancer examinations. Some of the leading tools used are Oral CDx®, VELscope®, and Orascoptic DK, among others. The doctor may also use a naso-pharyngo-laryngoscope to check the internal parts of the pharynx and larynx. Patients can expect local anesthesia from their doctor.
Oral CDx® is useful for removing cells that might cause a problem while screening for oral cancer. VELscope® can help detect lumps in the oral cavity.
What happens after the oral cancer examination?
Most doctors go for oral cancer examination as a precautionary measure. Doctors are aware that early detection of cancer can help in a successful treatment as well as recovery. So, if the patient has a habit of chewing or smoking tobacco or having alcohol regularly or is at risk in any other way, the doctor will opt for regular oral cancer examinations.
If the doctor finds any abnormality in the oral cavity or the surrounding areas, they may suggest additional tests to diagnose the problem.
The American Dental Association has a planned treatment which has better recovery rates in case any patient gets diagnosed with oral cancer.
So, these are some factors that people should expect when a dentist or doctor is carrying out an oral cancer examination. If a patient is diagnosed with oral cancer, the doctor will put them at ease and start the needful treatment. A patient’s ultimate responsibility is to clarify their oral health history to the doctor in advance.