The American Cancer Society reports more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer diagnoses per year. Of these, more than 7,000 patients die. However, when oral cancer is detected in its early stages, it can be effectively treated and cured.

Oral cancer comes in a variety of histologic types including melanoma, adenocarcinoma, and teratoma. The most common type is malignant squamous cell carcinoma which usually originates in the mouth and lip tissue. In general, oral cancer is a pathologic process with an asymptomatic stage in which the usual cancer symptoms are not easily noticeable.

For this reason, oral cancer exams are incredibly important. They are quick, painless exams that should be conducted at least once per year by your dentist.


Signs you might need an oral cancer screening

About 75% of oral cancers are linked to tobacco use, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. These are modifiable behaviors that you can control in your life. For more information on the causes of oral cancer, your dentist in Brooklyn, NY can provide you with education and literature on smoking cessation and other lifestyle choices you can make to improve your health and prevent oral cancer.

During a routine oral cancer exam, your dentist, Dr. Shahin, will be looking for three main things:


A hardened gray or white, slightly raised lesion inside the mouth, if not treated, can become cancerous.

Red, white, or pink sores and patches

Colored patches or sores on the floor of the mouth or tongue that never heal or heal very slowly can be a sign of pathologic, cancerous, changes.


The thickening of tissue, lumps, or soreness anywhere in the throat or mouth can be a sign of oral pathology.

Oral cancer exams, diagnosis, and treatment

Oral cancer commonly occurs in many areas of the mouth including the gums, lips, salivary glands, mouth, tongue, and oropharyngeal region (throat). It can even occur on the face. During your oral cancer exam, your Crown Heights dentist will check each of these areas for pathologic symptoms using visual tools, gentle examination, and dental lasers.

Dental lasers are an amazing tool that your dentist can use to see below the surface, allowing them to discover unusual signs or lesions that the invisible eye could not see.


Oral cancer is present if the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken. Malignant cancer can rapidly spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions and must be treated quickly.

If pathological symptoms are discovered during your oral cancer examination, your local dentist, oral pathologist, or oral surgeon will immediately create a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. Further treatment can be completed after a biopsy is performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which identifies the stage and grade of the oral lesion. After the biopsy, further treatment can include radiation therapy, excision, and chemotherapy.

Schedule your oral cancer examinations at least once per year to prevent the formation of pathologic conditions and the spreading of cancer. Our dentist, Dr. Shahin, and our dental hygienists want to make sure you live cancer-free and maintain exceptional oral health throughout your life.


To set up an oral cancer screening or to ask questions about oral cancer in Brooklyn, contact Brooklyn Dentist. We provide dental services for patients in Fort Greene, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, and Crown Heights.