Oral Cancer Screenings
Dr. Schiffer will occasionally recommend oral cancer screenings to patients depending on their lifestyle choices. However, we also allow patients to request them on their own.
Oral cancer screenings include a visual exam and a physical exam of an oral cavity and the nearby tissue. They’re meant to assure patients they have no signs of cancer, or to initiate early treatment if they do. For the screenings to work, we must conduct them before cancer symptoms are manifest.
What’s the Procedure for an Oral Cancer Screening?
As mentioned above, oral cancer exams include a visual exam and a physical exam. At times they take place almost simultaneously, but we also do them separately. The examination is usually not uncomfortable or painful, but if you have any concerns, make them known to Dr. Schiffer before we begin.
The visual exam has Dr. Schiffer look at your lips, face, neck, nostrils, and oral cavity. Please take out your removable prosthetic devices (if you have any) prior to beginning the examination so we can check each area.
This procedure is done with the patient either lying down or sitting up straight. It resembles a physical examination in that Dr. Schiffer uses a mirror, light, and tongue depressor to look into your mouth and nose. He will check the aforementioned areas for bumps, ulcers, inflammation, asymmetrical areas, and discoloration.
He may also need to check your gums, tonsils, throat, the inside of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth and underneath your tongue. These areas are sometimes difficult to see, so we ask for your patience and cooperation if this is the case for you.
The physical exam begins once the visual exam is complete, though sometimes the two take place at the same time. During the physical exam, Dr. Schiffer touches your head, chin, cheeks, jaw, and oral cavity to search for abnormalities. He may ask you to swallow when examining your throat.
If we find tissue that has difficulty moving when it is normally quite mobile, this might indicate a problem. Dr. Schiffer may touch it and ask you if doing so feels uncomfortable. Signs of oral cancer are sometimes painful or uncomfortable to the touch, but discolored or inflamed areas that don’t hurt can still indicate a problem.
Oral Cancer Exam Screening Devices
Dr. Schiffer has an assortment of tools he uses during the screening, like the light, mirror, and tongue depressor mentioned above. But he may also need to use certain specialized tools to get the job done, including the following:
||Oral CDx, a brush that removes cells from the mouth for study.
|| Orascoptic DK, which inspects abnormal tissues with a slightly acidic mouth rinse.
|| VELscope, which identifies abnormal oral tissues with a blue light.
|| Nasopharyngolaryngoscope, a flexible fiber-optic camera. It is fed into your nose and down the back of your throat to examine your larynx and pharynx after we administer medication and anesthesia.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please give us a call at (470) 222-8983.