Oral Cancer Screenings: How Often You Need to Have them?

Oral Cancer Screenings: How Often You Need to Have them?

Nov 01, 2020

Oral cancer appears as a sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away. It also includes cancers of the mouth floor, lips, sinuses, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palate, and pharynx. Early oral cancer detection via visual inspection of the mouth can enhance your chance of successful treatment. The dental experts can readily identify precancerous and sores that can be dangerous.

If you found any lump or sore in your mouth that does not go away, get oral cancer screenings in Weymouth, MA today. Skilled doctors will advise you about screening tests and how often they should be done.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Swelling, rough spots, lumps, or crusts on the gums, lips, or other areas inside the mouth
  • Sores on the neck, face, or mouth that bleed and do not do away
  • Problem while chewing or swallowing food
  • Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue or communicating
  • Earache
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change in voice
  • Unexplained mouth bleeding, numbness, loss of pain/tenderness in any region of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • White and red-colored patches in the mouth
  • A change in the way your dentures or teeth fit together

What Are the Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening?

Below are the perks of dentist oral cancer screening:

  • Regular screening detects cancer early
  • Reduce the chance of death from the cancer
  • Lowers cost of treatment

How Often Do You Need to Have Oral Cancer Screenings?

The American Cancer Society advises people above age 20 to have oral cancer screening examinations every three years. However, people over 40 age need to have annually.

What Are the Diverse Types of Screening Tests for Oral Cancer?

Each cancer type has its own screening tests. If the oral cancer test result comes out to be abnormal, you may need to have more tests in order to determine if you have cancer. These are known as diagnostic tests. The following tests are conducted to diagnose mouth cancer:

Physical Examination

During routine check-ups, the doctor looks for lip and oral cavity cancers. If a person shows signs of oral cancer, the expert will take a full medical history.


An endoscopy is a screening test that allows the doctor to see inside the mouth and throat. An endoscope is inserted through the nose to examine the neck and regions.


If the doctor finds an area in mouth suspicious, he conducts a biopsy. It is the elimination of a small amount of tissue for examination under the microscope. The kind of biopsy performed will depend on the location of oral cancer.

HPV Test

Human Papillomavirus test is performed on the mouth tumor eliminated during the biopsy. It is used to identify the presence of HPV. It is because this helps the doctor to determine the cancer stage and the most effective treatment options. This test may be performed alone or combined with a Pap test.


Magnetic resonance imaging is the imaging method that grabs multiple pictures of soft tissues like tonsils and the tongue base. It is used to screen ladies with a higher risk of oral cancer to measure the tumor size.

Computed Tomography Scan

A CT scan grabs detailed and 3-dimensional images of the inside of the mouth using x-rays. Doctors used them to find out any abnormalities or tumors. In some cases, a special dye (contrast medium) is injected into the vein or given as a pill or liquid to the patient before the scan to provide great detail on the image.

Note: Your oral specialist will decide which oral test is right for you depending on your risk factors.

For some cancer types, the chance of recovery is better if the disease is found and treated at an early stage. But oral cancer can be lethal without early treatment. Moreover, in the early stages, mouth cancer causes pain rarely. So you may not know that you have it.

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