Oral Cancer Screening

An estimated 28,000 new cases of oral cancer and 7,200 deaths from these cancers occurred in the United States in 2004.

The age-adjusted incidence was more than twice as high among men than among women, as was the mortality rate. More than 40% of persons diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

More than 90% of oral cancers can be attributed to tobacco use, alcohol use, and both tobacco and alcohol use. Sun exposure can also be a risk factor for oral cancer. Low consumption of fruit and some types of human papilloma virus infections have also been implicated.

How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

An examination for oral cancer may be done during a physical examination by your dentist or physician. An oral cancer exam is painless and quick. Your health care provider will inspect your face, neck, lips and mouth to look for any signs of cancer. With both hands, he or she will feel the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, checking for lumps that may suggest cancer. Next, your provider will have you stick out your tongue so that it can be checked for swelling or abnormal color or texture. In addition, he or she will look at the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat. He or she will then look at and feel the insides of your lips and cheeks to check for possible signs of cancer, such as red and/or white patches.

Using gauze, he or she will then gently pull your tongue to one side, then the other, to check the base of your tongue. The underside of your tongue will also be checked. Finally, your provider will put one finger on the floor of your mouth and, with the other hand under your chin, gently press down to check for lumps or sensitivity.

How Is South Carolina Doing?

Oral cancer is the 9th most common cancer in South Carolina, with 2,897 oral cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2001 (or about 480 new cases per year). South Carolina ranks 2nd in the nation for deaths from oral cancer. The majority (70%) of oral cancers occurred in males, with black males having the highest incidence. There are three counties in South Carolina (Charleston, Georgetown, and Richland) with oral cancer rates higher than the state average.

Quickfacts: Oral Cancer in the U.S.:

  • Persons aged 45 and older account for 90% of oral cancer cases
  • More than 90% of oral cancers can be attributed to tobacco or alcohol use
  • Men are twice as likely as women to contract and die from oral cancer

Doesn’t my dentist already do a cancer screening?

Yes, your dentist does check your neck and oral tissues for lumps, red or white patches or recurring sore areas. But typically, these techniques catch cancer at very advanced stages and mortality drops dramatically. Early detection is key to a successful treatment. With Velscope, Dr. Dahlkemper can detect early stages of cancer more easily and should be checked yearly.

Dr. D uses the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System, which centers on a wireless, handheld scope that uses natural tissue fluorescence visualization to help discover oral mucosal abnormalities that might otherwise have been overlooked. Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.


Finance Options

Dental treatment is an excellent investment in an individual’s medical and psychological well-being. Financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this important health service. Being sensitive to the fact that different people have different needs in fulfilling their financial obligations, we are providing the following payment options.

Contact Us

1203 Two Island Ct #101
Mt Pleasant, SC 29466