Original Publication
Open Access

Comprehensive Oral Cancer Examination of the Extra-oral and Intra-oral Regions of the Head and Neck

Published: July 17, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9201

Included in this publication:

  • Comp Extra Intra Cancer Exam.pdf
  • Instructor Guide.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: The resource was created to as a handout to assist the student with note-taking while watching the video from Oral Cancer Screening Task Force. The purpose was to learn how to perform an oral cancer screening in a systematic manner. This particular video was selected as it was available, extremely concise, professionally made, and included all aspects of the examination. Supplemental information is provided in the document and includes descriptions of the steps, visual representation of the steps, clinical pictures showing the anatomical area labeled with its name, and common pathological conditions for the area. Methods: The fourteen page tutorial is a detailed description of the steps in the extra-oral and intra-oral examination done as part of the oral cancer exam, including the pertinent cranial nerves. Each region is identified in a systematic manner, including an image of the area and identification of structures. Additionally, the steps are concisely presented, identifying possible findings and corresponding images of pathology. Results: Utilizing this handout and video, the students have learned a greater amount of information. Additionally, when testing the students a year later on the oral cancer screening procedure, their retention was 90%. Discussion: This tutorial assists dental, allied health students, and medical students with the oral cancer examination process. The tutorial can also be used as a follow-along handout in the preclinical setting when practicing the examination.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Perform a complete extra-oral and intra-oral examination in a systematic manner.
  2. Specifically name normal anatomical structures of the extra-oral and intra-oral regions.
  3. Identify what to look for in each region of the extra-oral and intra-oral examination.
  4. Identify possible findings in each region of the extra-oral and intra-oral examination.

Author Information

  • Nereyda Polo Clark, DMD: University of Florida College of Dentistry - Restorative Dental Sciences
  • Pamela R. Sandow, DMD: University of Florida College of Dentistry - Oral and Maxillofacial Diagnostic Sciences

None to report.

None to report.


Clark N, Sandow P. Comprehensive oral cancer examination of the extra-oral and intra-oral regions of the head and neck. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9201. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9201

This publication is co-sponsored by the American Dental Education Association.