Will an Oral Cancer Screening Hurt?

According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for oral cancers has been decreasing over the past 30 years, but people are still at risk for the disease. Oral cancers are more common in men than women; however, screenings are important for all patients just in case. Better treatment options and early screenings have led to the decline of the death rate, which is good news for patients. A diagnosis of oral cancer can lead to losing your ability to chew, to talk, and/or to taste.

The average age for people to be diagnosed with oral cancer is 62, but don’t think that young people are not vulnerable. About 25 percent of the cancers occur in people under the age of 55. Smokers and heavy alcohol users have the highest risk of oral cancer, but current research is showing a connection between HPV and oral cancer.

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

The cancer screening occurs during your regular office visit. The dentist will examine your mouth, your gums, your tongue and the inside of your cheeks for lesions. Generally, there is no pain associated with this screening. Oral cancer itself may not be painful initially, which can cause it to go unnoticed. Many symptoms of oral cancers are indicative of other oral diseases. Your dentist can discuss your symptoms and options if you show signs of oral cancers or disease. If there is an abnormality, you may have to schedule a biopsy. The dentist can discuss this procedure if you need it. Following a diagnosis of cancer, you may need an MRI or CT scan too determine the extent of the cancer.

Oral Cancer Screening Is Part of Comprehensive Dentistry

When you make an appointment with Dr. Wolfe, you can count on having an oral cancer screening as part of our comprehensive dentistry procedures (Click here to watch a video of Dr. Wolfe explaining what comprehensive dentistry is and why it is important). If you are concerned about oral cancer in Rochester, MN, schedule your appointment with our office today to alleviate your concerns.

Oral Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Oral cancer is a growing health concern with cases rising annually around the globe. Although there are several contributing factors, one of the most important is the lack of routine screening. Sadly, a large percentage of diagnosed cases are late stage disease which, if caught earlier, could have been largely curable.

The survival rate continues to hover around 50% due to the overall lack of screening that contributes to late stage diagnosis. This is especially true of developing economies where access to dental health care is very limited.

ThinkstockPhotos-151338885 Spotting oral cancer in the early stage is the goal of Rochester Hills, MI dentist Dr. Matthew Wolfe. We perform an oral cancer screening during routine preventive dental care in an effort to find disease in the early stage and give patients the greatest chance for a full recovery. It is also important to be aware of the common signs of oral cancer and understand the risks that certain lifestyle habits can present. Patients who use tobacco products of any kind have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco products or have a family history of oral cancer, mention this to Dr. Wolfe so that we may educate you further on possible health concerns and be aware of your higher risk status.


Common signs of oral cancer

  • Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
  • Difficulty swallowing

Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- many patients do not even realize that their dentist has performed the screening while they did a thorough dental exam. Twice yearly visits to Signature Dentistry in Rochester Hills, MI will enhance our ability to spot early signs of cancer as we develop a more in depth knowledge of your oral health.

Routine dental care not only supports a good quality of life, but can be life saving!