Oral Cancer: Prevention and Evaluation

Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

There are 53,000 new cases of oral cancer every year in the United States. At Boulevard Dental, we know that early detection of oral cancer increases long term survival. That is why we screen every patient during their maintenance visit.

We also know that education is key to combatting this disease, and that is why we want to share the key risk factors with you, what you can do to prevent oral cancer, how to identify existing signs early, and what you can expect during an oral cancer screening.

Anyone can get oral cancer, but there are several key risk factors:

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Being a male over 40 years of age

What can you do?

  • Visit your dental professional regularly.
  • Stop using tobacco and alcohol.
  • Get tested for HPV.
  • Get to know your mouth. If you have any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks, it’s time to schedule an appointment- you need to be evaluated right away!
    • Check your tongue, inside cheeks and lips, and the back of your throat. Are there any lumps, red or white lesions, bleeding lesions, or thickening tissue?
    • Are you experiencing any difficulty or pain when chewing, speaking, or swallowing?
    • Do you have any hoarseness or numbness in your mouth, or a feeling that something is caught in your throat?

What to expect during your oral cancer screening:

  • We will palpate along your neck and jaw to feel for any unusual or enlarged lymph nodes.
  • We will check your lips (inside and out), the inside of your cheeks, the floor of your mouth, and your hard and soft palate.
  • We will ask you to stick out your tongue to check it thoroughly.
  • We will look at the back of your throat.

At Boulevard Dental, our priority is the early detection of oral cancer. Please do not hesitate to consult your dental professional about any concerns.

We take oral cancer detection seriously!

-Teresa Hanna, RDH


National Institutes of Health. (2020). Oral Cancer. NIH Publication No: 20.5032