Oral Cancer Screenings in Spokane Valley

It’s estimated by the American Cancer Society that 42,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. The risk factors for oral cancer don’t just include alcohol or tobacco use anymore. Rather, viruses such as HPV are causing even younger victims to be clenched by the grips of oral cancer. To combat these statistics, Dr. Ryan R. Love conducts routine oral cancer screenings on each and every patient that comes into our office.

Early Diagnosis Is the Key

Most oral cancer cases are not found until symptoms are so advanced that the patient finds them on their own. At this point, treatment is much more difficult. Finding abnormal and precancerous tissue areas while they are as small as possible is extremely important. Abnormal tissues may include:
  • Irregular tissue that is present on one side of the mouth
  • Tissue that is dramatically more red or white than surrounding tissue
  • Irregular texture, borders, or shape of lesions in the mouth
  • Sores that do not heal within two weeks

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening usually takes place during a routine examination with Dr. Love. Patients that wear partial or complete dentures will be asked to remove them so the dentist can better examine the soft tissues around the mouth. Typically the face, head, neck and jaw are examined first. Dr. Love looks for asymmetry, changes in color and growths that could be suspicious. He uses his fingers to feel around the neck and the area under the jaw for enlarged lymph nodes. Sometimes subtle abnormalities, such as minor swelling on the side of the face causing asymmetry or slurred speech, are small giveaways that something is amiss. Dr. Love then visually examines the lips, inside lining of the lips, and inside lining of the cheeks and gums, looking for changes in pigmentation, color, texture and other abnormalities. He checks the tongue, floor of the mouth and the hard and soft palate for lesions, growths or other abnormalities. In addition to the visual and manual exam, Dr. Love may also ask the patient questions about potential changes in the mouth — such as difficulty swallowing, hoarseness when speaking or persistent earaches — that could indicate an underlying problem. If the exam does turn up something suspicious, Dr. Love may suggest taking a small biopsy and sending it to a lab for clinical diagnosis. He can also provide a referral to a specialist for additional diagnosis and biopsy.

Contact Dr. Ryan Love

For more information about oral cancer screenings, please call (509) 928-2525 or email our practice today.