|Posted on November 23, 2015 at 6:45 AM|
As part of your routine dental check-up, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening examination. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discoloured tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.
Your dentist may perform an oral brush biopsy if he or she sees tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analysing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anaesthesia and may be performed by your dentist or a specialist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/eroded areas on the lips, gums or other areas inside the mouth.
The development of velvety white, red or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth or neck.
Persistent sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks.
A lump in the neck due to an enlarged lymph node
A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.
Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice.
A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together.
Dramatic weight loss.
If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or GP immediately.