Your dental professional may screen you for oral cancer even if you do not have symptoms. Screening test are useful as they can help detect oral cancers early, decreasing the chance of fatality due to these cancers. For most types of cancer, odds of survival are greatly increased if diagnosed at an early stage.
Your dentist may exam you for lesions in the mouth, lips, hard palate, gums, tongue and mucous membranes. If lesions are detected, a Biopsy or small excision of the suspicious tissue is made and sent for microscopic examination.
It is important to keep in mind that if your dentist has sent you to get oral cancer screening it is usually a precautionary measure and does not mean that you have cancer.