THE ORAL CANCER EXAMINATION
One area of heightened concern for older patients is oral cancer. The risk for this disease increases with age, with over 95% of oral cancers occurring in individuals of 45 years of age or older.
So, it is especially important that elderly patients regularly receive an oral examination that includes three essential factors:
- Medical History : In order to better identify developing conditions that may increase the risk of disease, as well as to discern the causes of these changes, a review of the patient’s medical and dental history is imperative. These records can offer important information for evaluating current and developing conditions.
- Visual Assessment : During regular visits to the doctor or dentist, patients should receive a visual assessment of the head, neck, and mouth. By slightly drying surfaces inside the mouth and using a bright light, even the slight changes which may indicate developing disease may be recognized.
- Palpation : As a part of a cancer screening, doctors or dentists should also use manual palpation around the lymph nodes in the neck. These can be helpful to identify potential sites of concern even when a lesion is not easily visible. Lymph nodes are one of the most important indicators in a patient with oral cancer, so regular examination for abnormality is a must.