Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings contain both a visual and a physical exam of an oral cavity and its adjacent tissue. We often recommend them based on a patient's lifestyle choices, but patients can also request one as a precautionary measure. Oral cancer screenings work to assure patients that they don't have any signs of cancer, or can impel immediate treatment if we find any. These screenings should occur before symptoms become visible.
Oral Cancer Screening Exam Procedure
An oral cancer exam is divided into a visual exam and a physical exam. Sometimes they occur more or less simultaneously, while other times they are more distinct.
During screening, we will need to look at your neck, face, lips, the inside of your nose and your oral cavity. If you have any removable prosthetic devices, please remove them before we begin so we can examine every possible area.
You can sit up straight or lie down for this procedure. Either way, Dr. Eshraghi will search for abnormalities such as ulcers, inflamed areas, asymmetrical areas, patches of color, and bumps. Like a regular physical exam, he will use a light, mirror, and tongue depressor to see clearly into the nose and mouth. He may use other tools to examine your throat, tonsils, the roof of your mouth, inner cheeks, gums and underneath your tongue. Please cooperate so he can check out all of the important areas, including the ones that are often hard to see.
After completing the visual exam (though it can also occur during it), Dr. Eshraghi will check for abnormal masses by touching your head, cheeks, chin, jaw and inside the oral cavity. When we examine your throat, we may need you to swallow.
If tissue that is normally mobile has trouble moving, that can indicate a possible problem. If we find such tissue, we may ask you if touching it causes discomfort. While symptoms of oral cancer can cause pain or discomfort, an inflamed spot that doesn't hurt can still indicate problems elsewhere.
Oral Cancer Screening Devices
We use a variety of tools during an oral cancer screening, such as the As, mirror and tongue depressor, but we may need to use a set of specialized examination tools to complete the procedure. One of them is a brush called an Oral CDx, which we use to painlessly remove cells so we can test them. Others include a VELscope, which uses a blue light to identify dubious oral tissues, and an Orascoptic DK, which utilizes a slightly acidic mouth rinse to help us inspect those same tissues. We also use a variety of specialized dyes.
Another tool we often use is called a nasopharyngolaryngoscope. This long-named device is a flexible fiber-optic camera. Once we give you medication and an anesthetic, Dr. Eshraghi will feed this camera into your nose and down the back of your throat to look at your larynx and pharynx.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please give us a call at (971) 317-8414.