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Oral Cancer Screening - Maria Lalousi

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27 Oct

What is Oral Cancer Screening


About this treatment

Oral cancer involves abnormal cell tissue growth in the mouth, tongue, lip, palate, gums or throat.

Diagnostic screening for oral cancer

Once you have discussed symptoms, your dentist will check your mouth during a physical examination for swelling, lumps, red or pale patches. The full mouth is examined including lips, gums, inner cheeks, tongue, palate and throat and neck lymph nodes. If cancer is suspected, you will be informed. Further diagnostic testing will be necessary such as biopsy. The biopsy of cell tissue will confirm if abnormal cancerous cell growth is present. The level of cancerous growth is determined by using endoscopic testing, X-ray or MRI scans.


Symptoms of oral cancer

If oral cancer is present symptoms may include pale white patches in the mouth or on the lips. There may be bright red marks present with the pale patches. Other symptoms include a wound or ulcer in the mouth or on the lips that will not heal or bleeding in the mouth. Pain when swallowing and bleeding in the mouth are also signs, as are lumps in the mouth, throat or neck. These symptoms usually persist after two weeks and should be checked or screened by a doctor or dental care professional for diagnosis and treatment.


Other dental conditions with similar symptoms

Other dental conditions can have similar symptoms, particularly if there is chafing in the mouth, such as that caused by dentures, metal braces or a mouth guard. Infections can also cause swelling and bleeding in the mouth unrelated to cancer. Having your symptoms checked through an oral cancer screening will enable you to receive early intervention, whether it is for another dental condition or cancer.

Risk factors are considered when evaluating causes of oral cancer. People at a higher risk of developing oral cancer may:

  • Have a genetic predisposition to abnormal cancerous cell growth.
  • Have high exposure to the sun or UV due to artificial tanning, which has damaged lip and skin tissue.
  • Smoke or chew tobacco that damages oral cell tissue.
  • Excessively drink alcohol, which damages oral cell tissue and the liver.
  • Follow an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, which weakens their immunity and healthy cell growth.
  • Prognosis, treatment and prevention of oral cancer


Preventative measures


Oral cancer is usually treated with radiation or chemotherapy and abnormal cancerous growths can spread through the body if not caught early.

The side effects of oral cancer treatment may include pain, weakness, altered facial appearance, difficulty in swallowing or chewing food, dry mouth, tooth decay, sore gums, bleeding, infections, denture problems, voice quality, thyroid problems, fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.


Having regular dental check-ups allows dentists to monitor oral health for the presence of cancerous growth, to ensure patients can receive the treatment they need – people can have oral cancer and not know it. Other preventative measures include:


  • Being screened during a physical examination and having a biopsy taken to detect cancer.
  • Avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, sunburn and the use of artificial tanning devices.
  • Refraining from smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Moderating alcohol consumption.
  • Eating a nutritious diet with regular exercise.
  • Following a healthy lifestyle.



To learn more about our oral cancer screening procedures email us at to arrange a consultation