The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest
to remove and most likely to be cured.
People with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening, though studies haven’t clearly proved that. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- History of significant sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer
The number of people diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers has been rising over the last several years, though it isn’t clear why. An increasing number of these cancers are associated with the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you’re concerned about your cancer risk, talk to Dr. Lanza about ways you can reduce your risk and which screening tests might be appropriate for you.