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Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening During Each Exam?

Posted on 3/7/2022 by Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery
Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening During Each Exam?You should get an oral cancer screening each year if you are over 40 years old and every 3 years if you are 20 to 39 years old. Detecting cancer early is important for a successful treatment and outcome.

Risk Factors

You are at a higher risk of getting oral cancer if you have the human papillomavirus (HPV) or have a family history of the disease. People who drink and smoke are at an increased risk of getting oral cancer as well. In these cases, request an oral cancer screening yearly. You don't have to get a screening every time you have a check-up, but you should have the test scheduled annually if you are older or a high-risk patient.

What Happens During a Screening

The screening starts with an exam of the mouth and throat. We visually look for any type of abnormality using a light, mirror, and tongue depressor. Abnormalities may include bumps, ulcerations, swellings, or patchy red and white areas. All the areas of the mouth are examined, including the tonsils, roof of the mouth, gums, tongue, and inner cheeks. We also palpate the neck, jaw, and the outside cheeks to check for firm nodules or masses.

What Happens If You Detect an Abnormality?

If anything unusual is noted, we use a laser light to further evaluate abnormal tissue or apply a blue dye over a suspected abnormal area. The dye remains blue if no abnormal tissue is found. We may also ask the patient to rinse their mouth with an acetic acid solution before using a special light to check a suspected site.

Check your mouth monthly, at home, and tell us about any changes, such as lumps, patchy areas, or sores. To book an appointment for an oral cancer screening, give us a call today. We can always reserve a time that will conveniently work with your schedule.


10042 Park Cedar Dr, Suite B
Charlotte, NC 28210


527 S New Hope Rd
Gastonia, NC 28054

Steele Creek

10935 Winds Crossing Dr, Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28273

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