Dental Professionals

- of -

Lincoln Park

Dr. Michael M. Bukumira – Est. 1987

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer may not be the most talked about type of cancer, but it can still be just as deadly. Doctors estimate oral cancer is responsible for the death of at least one person every hour in the United States. It may account for a small percentage of cancers, but it is dangerous and isn’t frequently identified until after it has reached more advanced stages, when the odds of survival are low. In fact, only about 60 percent of patients survive beyond five years.

Would you consider it if there was a test that could give you early warning about oral cancer? The good news is, there is an option. Early detection has been found to increase the survival rate to 80 percent or greater. Oral cancer screenings are typically conducted during regular dental checkups, giving you the chance to catch any issues as early as possible.

This examination is painless and over quickly. The goal is to look for any minor changes that take place in the tissues of your lips, tongue and mouth. These changes can indicate the early stages of cancer. The examination consists of visual evaluation and touch. If any changes are found, a tissue sample can be collected for further testing.

Who Is at Risk?

The risk factors are surprising for many. In the past, most people thought oral cancer was only found in aging individuals and it does still occur most often in people over 40. However, younger individuals are making up an increasingly larger percentage of oral cancer patients. This is primarily due to the increased occurrence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16), a sexually transmitted disease.

There are still other major risk factors that may apply. Individuals who are middle aged or older and are moderate to heavy drinkers or long-term tobacco users have the greatest risk of developing this cancer. Chronic sun exposure, which is typically associated with skin cancer, can also cause cancer on the lips. Genetics may also have a major impact on your risk factors.

Oral Cancer Detection

As part of your routine dental checkup, a thorough screening is performed, making it essential to keep your regular examinations. During the screening, your dental professional will look at your tongue, lips and inside of your mouth to identify changes, such as red or white patches or any unusual sores. Touch may also be used to check for swelling or lumps and your tongue may be moved to the side. A biopsy will be performed on any unusual areas.

In addition, if you identify any color changes or abnormal sores in the oral area, it’s important to seek assistance. In many cases, these issues are benign, but it’s important to catch problems early. If these issues don’t resolve on their own within 2 to 3 weeks, see your dentist. The only way to diagnose oral cancer is through laboratory testing. The key is in getting an early diagnosis through regular screenings and dental checkups.


our address

Dental Professionals
of Lincoln Park

2314 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Call or write phone & email

(773) 327-4442

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Office Hours

meet our team
Mon 04:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Staff Available at Noon
Tue 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
and 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Wed 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
and 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Every Other Week
Thu 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Fri 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Every Other Week
Sat - Sun Closed