10 Steps Included in an Oral Cancer Screening

These days, people are exposed to different things and situations that may pose health complications in the future. It can be food, drinks, chemicals, drugs, or other lifestyle choices. For this reason above, it is of paramount importance to have a regular oral cancer screening in Winnipeg. It is good to know about your overall health status rather than be given sudden news about having a health problem that could have been treated or prevented earlier. 

Over the years, the number of people with squamous cell carcinoma in the oral cavity and throat has been increasing. Unfortunately, this issue has occurred for decades. Hence, the rise of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment. There have been successful cases of recovery, but this does not take away the challenge one faces in terms of eating, smiling, and speaking after the treatment. 

Most of head and neck cancers begin in the mouth, lip or on the floor of the mouth. This usually includes the sides of the tongue, back of the throat and the area underneath the tongue. The most common cause of this boils down to smoking and alcohol use. Also, this is common among people ages 50 and above, so being proactive in terms of detection is a must. A visit to a dentist in Winnipeg can help you determine whether you are at risk of the condition through their oral examination. 

Understanding extraoral examination

When doing a face examination, your dentist will check for swelling, discolouration, masses, and ulceration. It is important to detect any asymmetry or areas of the skin and scalp that are pigmented, ulcerated, raised, or firm. A dentist in Winnipeg can do this as well as check the facial skeleton, soft tissue, and bones. 

When checking the eyes, extraocular movements should be observed in every direction to check the function of the cranial nerve. A late sign of a tumor may show as swelling in the eyes or periorbital area, plus, drainage originating from the lacrimal system can also be an indication of a mass obstructing the nose, sinus or facial soft tissue. 

As for the nose, the external nose and paranasal region under the maxilla and maxillary sinus will be palpated. On the other hand, testing the ears include inspecting the auricle or any erythematous, pigmented or ulcerous lesions. Hearing should also be noted by paying attention to the patient's response during the procedure. 

With the patient settled in a position at the dentist's eye level, there is a need to palpate the neck to check for enlarged lymph nodes manually. Using two fingers, they will palpate along the course of the sternomastoid muscles, just below the mandible coursing down to the clavicle. They will check on the supraclavicular spaces on both sides and check the parotid groups located on the anterior and inferior areas of the ears, submental, and submaxillary chain. To determine whether there is a mass in the submaxillary area, they will put a gloved finger on the patient's mass and use their hand to press on them while the other hand is placed under the chin. As for the larynx, check for signs of enlargement or immobility. 

When checking the thyroid, your dentist must palpate it as it can be challenging to feel. They may ask the patient to swallow while their fingers are placed adjacent to the gland to notice if there is any tenderness noted. 

The lips are a bit easier to check for any changes or abnormalities in terms of texture, colour, symmetry, and contour. The vermilion border should be checked as it is the leading site for oral cancers. Do note that the labial mucosa should be smooth and uniform in colour. Using the thumb and index finger, your dentist will palpate the lip for nodular or firm submucosal areas.

Understanding Intraoral Cavity Examination

The buccal mucosa should be checked for a white line or changes in terms of colour and texture. Another area to check is the Stenson's duct. This is responsible for secreting saliva. Your dentist can use their index and middle fingers to feel for hidden masses on your buccal mucosa.

As for the tongue, your dentist will ask the patient to stick it out and do a side to side motion with it. They will note if there are signs of spasm or asymmetry. Ulceration, swelling, discolouration, irregularities should also be checked further. A dentist in Winnipeg will use a dental mirror to get a more unobstructed view of your tongue. They can have the patient touch the roof of the mouth to see the central area. 

These are just some of the steps included when performing an oral cancer screening. An oral cancer screening in Winnipeg can quickly be booked with your dentist. Proactive measures will let us maximize the fruits of our labour in the future. Consult with a dentist in Winnipeg today.

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