Oral Cancer Screenings in Stafford County

Oral Cancer ScreeningAn examination that looks for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in one’s mouth with the goal of identifying any issues while it is still early enough to treat and cure it. 

Oral Cancer Screenings are performed during routine dental visits. Both dentists and dental hygienists are trained to see or feel tissue changes, and in cases where it is in an early stage, the actual cancer. Dr. Yousaf provides oral cancer screenings for residents of Stafford County, Quantico Base, Manassas, Woodbridge, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, Garrisonville,  and Roseville, VA.

Oral Cancer Screenings consist of two examinations; a extraoral and an intraoral.
An extraoral examination is an assessment taking place outside of the mouth, with the dentist looking at the face, head, and neck. Notes of any new asymmetry, or changes in skin (crust, fissures, growths, color change) will be made by the examining dentist. This kind of examination will also look for the presence of enlarged nodes. Should enlarged nodes be found, the next step will be to determine the mobility and consistency. The dentist may recommend further examinations, looking at the preauricular, submandibular, anterior cervical, posterior auricular, and posterior cervical regions.
A perioral and intraoral soft tissue exam carefully follows a systematic, seven-step assessment of the mouth beginning with the lips, moving on to the labial mucosa, buccal mucosa, gingiva, tongue, floor, and finishing with the palate. Dentists look for and make note of any changes in color, pigmentation, texture, or size, abnormalities, swelling, ulceration, and coating.

What to Look For
Because there are frequent and normal tissue changes that can occur in the mouth, it is vital that patients be aware of any changes that they notice. Patients should also note a change in feeling or any cuts/sores that take two weeks or longer to heal, or are not healing at all.

Primary Risk Factors

  • Substance Use – Tobacco and alcohol use; majority of cases of oral cancer were a result of smoking cigarettes, heavy alcohol consumption, or the use of the two together.
  • Infection – Any infections with the presence of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, specifically HPV 16.
  • Other Risks – Risk of cancer increases with age with oral cancer typically occurring in people over the age of 40. Cancer of the lips is often in part due to sun exposure.
  • Diet – A diet low in fruits and vegetables can encourage the development of oral cancer.

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