Screening for Oral Cancer
Overview of Screening
What is screening?
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your health care plan, this does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Screening tests are done when you have no symptoms. Since decisions about screening can be difficult, you may want to discuss them with your doctor and ask questions about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
If your doctor suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order certain tests to see whether you do. These are called
Purposes of this summary
The purposes of this summary on
Give information on oral cancer and what makes it more likely to occur (
Describe oral cancer screening methods and what is known about their effectiveness.
You can talk to your doctor or health care professional about cancer screening and whether it would be likely to help you.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cavity, which includes:
The front two thirds of the tongue.
buccal mucosa(the lining of the inside of the cheeks).
The floor (bottom) of the mouth under the tongue.
hard palate(the roof of the mouth).
retromolar trigone(the small area behind the wisdom teeth). Oropharynx, which includes:
The middle part of the
pharynx(throat) behind the mouth.
The back one-third of the tongue.
The side and back walls of the throat.
This summary will describe the
Risk of oral cancer
The number of new cases of oral cancer, as well as the number of deaths from oral cancer, has been decreasing.
Anything that increases a person?s chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Some of these risk factors for oral cancer are as follows:
Sex: Men have a slightly higher risk of developing oral cancer than women.
Race: The risk of developing oral cancer is higher in blacks than in whites.
Age: The risk of developing oral cancer increases after age 45 years.
Tobacco and Alcohol Use: The use of tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cancer.
Screening tests for oral cancer
Screening for oral cancer may be done during a
Changes to This Summary (07/23/2007)
Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.
Questions or Comments About This Summary
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