Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is one of the dental conditions that can flare up without exhibiting any early symptoms. The disease will show signs of its presence only after it has progressed to an advanced stage. This is what makes oral cancer screening mandatory during your regular dental checkups. At Roshan Emam DDS in Palo Alto, CA, we regularly perform oral cancer screenings for our patients to safeguard their oral health and ensure their general well-being. An early diagnosis for oral cancer will help treat the disease before it could be too late.

Who Needs Oral Cancer Screening?

Some people are in the high-risk category and can benefit from screening. Here are some factors that can lead to oral cancer:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Using tobacco
  • Overexposure to sunlight that can cause lip cancer
  • Family history

What Are The Primary Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The symptoms may differ from person to person, but generally, here are some of the warning signs linked to oral cancer:

  • Difficulty moving your tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Numbness
  • Swelling and pain
  • Irritated or dry patches in the throat

Unfortunately, these signs will usually flare up only after the disease has spread. Therefore, immediately have an oral screening done if you observe any of them.

What to Expect During Oral Cancer Screening?

Typically, oral cancer screening includes a thorough examination of your mouth, including your gums, lips, insides of your cheeks, the underside of your tongue, the back of your throat, and the roof of your mouth. The exam will take a couple of minutes. The purpose is to look for spots, lumps, and anything unusual in your mouth.

Supplementary Tests

There are instances when special tests are performed together with the oral exam. The special tests are:

Oral Cancer Screening Light 

It involves shining a light in your mouth during the oral exam. The healthy tissue appears dark when exposed to the light, whereas abnormal tissue will appear white.

Oral Cancer Screening Dye 

In this method, a special blue dye is used to rinse your mouth before an oral examination. An abnormal tissue will absorb the dye and appear blue.

If we detect any signs of oral cancer or precancerous lesions, we would recommend these actions: 

  • Schedule a dental visit after a few weeks to check whether the abnormality is still present or whether it has grown or changed.
  • A biopsy is conducted to get a sample of the cells in the abnormal area for laboratory testing to establish whether there are cancerous cells.

An oral cancer screening is a preventive measure that will help you be assured about your oral health. Call Roshan Emam DDS in Palo Alto, CA at (650) 321-0340 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Emam.


850 Middlefield Rd. Suite 8,
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Office Hours

MON - TUE9:00 am-5:00 pm


THU - FRI9:00 am-5:00 pm

SAT - SUNClosed