Fast & Easy Oral Cancer Screenings in Chandler, AZ

Protecting Your Health With Screenings

This year, approximately 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. While oral cancer accounts for only a small percentage of cancer diagnoses, it’s dangerous because it usually isn’t detected until it has already reached an advanced stage. That’s why Dr. Otteson performs oral cancer screenings alongside every exam. Early detection of oral cancer is the best way to increase the chances of faster recovery and survival.

open mouth with a dental mirror inside
man in a dental chair while dentist looks inside his mouth

What Happens During An Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer examination is relatively quick and painless. Its objective is to identify small changes in the lining tissues of the mouth, lips, and tongue that may signify the early stages of this type of cancer. The screening is primarily a visual and tactile examination. If any abnormalities are noted, a small tissue sample can be retrieved and sent for further testing in a laboratory.

At-Home Self Evaluation

Implementing regular self-screening techniques at home can help ensure the earliest possible detection. Schedule a visit with Dr. Otteson immediately if you find any of the following signs:

  • White or red spots in the mouth- The spots are visibly noticeable and have sharply contrasted borders from the normal tissue. 
  • Ulcers (open sores)- If you have an open sore that does not heal within two weeks, it may be a sign of a larger problem.
  • Lumps or bumps- Any lumps or bumps that grow out of the tissues within your mouth need to be inspected by a professional.
man inspecting the inside of his mouth
Self-Screening Process
Self-Screening Process

The goal of self-examination is to look at and feel along your own mouth for signs of any abnormalities. Before getting started, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and remove any oral appliances or dentures you may have so you can see clearly. 

  • Using a flashlight, examine your lips. Check the surface and internal surfaces of your lips as well as around the base of your gums. 
  • Visually and tactically check the insides of both cheeks, making sure to feel along the area with your finger for anything abnormal. 
  • Visually and tactically check the floor of your mouth (under the tongue).
  • Visually and tactically check the sides, top, and underside of your tongue. 
  • Visually inspect the back of your throat. 

It’s most common for oral cancers to develop in the back of the throat, the floor of the mouth, and to the sides or underneath the tongue. Conducting this examination at least once a month can help you catch signs of oral cancer early on and may lead to a faster recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes oral cancer?
How can I prevent oral cancer?
What causes oral cancer?

While people without known risk factors may also develop oral cancer, you may be at a higher risk for oral cancer if you:

  • Use tobacco products. This includes smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Consume heavy amounts of alcohol. Especially when paired with tobacco products. 
  • Have been previously diagnosed with oral cancer. If you’ve had oral cancer in the past, you may be more susceptible to developing it again. 
  • Have a history of heavy sun exposure. UV light can damage our lips as well. 
  • Have HPV. As research into oral cancer continues, there have been links found between oral cancer and the sexually transmitted infection HPV (human papillomavirus).  

If you have any concerns about oral cancer, schedule an appointment with Dr. Otteson so we can perform an oral cancer screening and ease your concerns.

How can I prevent oral cancer?

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from oral cancer including:

  • Performing regular self-exams. You know your body best. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Otteson as soon as possible. 
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene. Having an unhealthy mouth full of bacteria can make you more susceptible to infections and oral cancer. Keeping your mouth clean is a simple way to protect your health. Untreated tooth decay can also affect your immune system which can make your body weak against cancers. 
  • Avoid tobacco products. Both chewing and smoking tobacco increase the chances of developing oral cancer. 
  • Protect your lips from UV light. Just like the rest of our bodies, our lips also need protection from UV damage. 
  • Develop an active lifestyle. Staying active boosts your immune system. Whether you choose to walk, take a martial arts class, or hit the gym, moving your body can help protect you from many diseases. 
  • Choose cancer-preventing foods.  Choosing antioxidant foods can help prevent cancer. Fill your meal plan with berries, beans, and fibrous vegetables to protect your health. 

Schedule an Appointment With Dr. Otteson Today

At our Chandler office, you’ll find that Dr. Otteson and our expert staff are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive and proactive dental care. We aim to catch potential oral problems before they can cause issues, ensuring the longevity of your oral health and overall wellness. If you’d like to schedule a visit, give us a call at (480) 899-6229 or contact us through our online form.