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A Guide To Oral Cancer Testing For Smokers
Posted on 4/10/2023 by Dr. Michael Allard
People who smoke face challenges with their health. Although many people have stopped smoking, they run the risk of health problems for years after they stop smoking. Oral tobacco users are also at a higher risk for oral cancers. If you still smoke, you need to understand your risk for oral cancer. Here is some information you need to know.
About Oral Cancer
About 55,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with oral cancer. If it is caught early, it is very treatable. Dental practitioners regularly screen for oral cancers if you smoke. There are several ways dentists can check for oral cancer.
First, the dentist can use a camera and mirror tools to look for red and white patches on the inside of your mouth. If the dentist sees red or white patches in your mouth, they will most likely want to do a further examination.
Some dentists prefer to examine your mouth through touch by using gloved hands to feel for lumps and bumps on your soft or hard palate, cheeks, gums, and tongue. Sometimes, it can be hard to see throughout your mouth, especially if your mouth is small. Physical examination may lead to other examinations as well. A dentist may want to examine your glands and throat to feel for lumps as well.
Many dentists prefer to use other techniques to diagnose oral cancer. There is a dye called toluidine that you swish around in your mouth. If you have tissue that may be abnormal, the blue dye will stain the area so that a dentist can spot it easily. Also, there are types of special lights that will make abnormal tissue show up more clearly. All of these diagnostic tools help dentists give you the best shot at a cancer-free life.