EARLY STAGE ORAL CANCER IS OFTEN PAINLESS AND GOES UNDETECTED. EVERY DENTAL CHECKUP SHOULD INCLUDE A SIX-STEP SCREENING.
The Six-Step Screening
Scroll through the six steps to a thorough oral cancer screening by either clicking on one of the boxes or sliding your finger across the image.
Pull out the tongue with gauze, visually examine it for any swelling, ulceration or variation in size, color or texture. Gently run your index finger along the lateral borders to feel for any hard tissue.
Roll the tissue of the buccal mucosa and lips between your fingers. Note any firm or nodular areas, texture or color changes.Pull the upper and lower lips out completely, examining the labial mucosa and sulcus of the maxillary vestibule and frenum, and the mandibular vestibule.
Visually examine the floor of the mouth and palpate it bimanually with a gloved finger beneath the tongue and another under the chin on the exterior skin.
Check the hard and soft palate visually and palpate with your finger.
Roll tissue over the edge of the mandible.Have your patient look down and turn his head to the side which makes the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) stand out. Roll the soft tissue of the neck over the SCM.
Palpate the tissue around the Adams apple.
Take a good look at the tonsils and the back of the throat. Check for asymmetry, ulceration or redness.Examine the retromolar pads and all of the adjacent tissue.
Ask your patient if they have experienced any hoarseness, voice changes, or pain.
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Daryl Beckman, RDH DiCesare & DiCesare Periodontal Health Specialists Red Bank, NJ
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Christine Wood, RDH Executive Director, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Sparks, NV
“Your presentation was the best and most impactful course I took at Hinman. After 2 hours with you, I realized there was something I was missing…the human element. The perspective from an oral cancer survivor was something I never heard before. You are a crusader and exactly what the dental profession needs as a whole.”
Christopher E. Roberts, DDS Brushy Mountain Dental N. Wilkesboro, NC