Oral Cancer Screening

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:

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  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.

We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we can assist you with any questions or concerns.

At your dental check up, Dr. Farag will look at all the oral tissues for any suspicious areas. If one is found she may suggest taking a sample, or brush biopsy to test of abnormal cells. She or your hygienist will perform the OralCDx® BrushTest. It is a virtually painless way for a dentist to test common, subtle oral spots. The special brush has tiny bristles that collect cells as the tool is applied and rotated on the oral spot. It can be used anywhere in the mouth. Once the cells have been collected, the specimen is sent to CDx Diagnostics. It’s the only lab in the world that can process the sample. World class pathologists using sophisticated computer technology help doctors determine the cause of the common oral spot while making sure that the abnormality is not precancer or cancer. OralCDx® can also help the clinician decide if a scalpel biopsy is necessary to investigate the area further.