Dentist in St. Peter Says Get Screened for Oral Cancer

Apr 18, 2017

About 132 cases of oral cancer are found daily in the US. Dentist in St. Peter, Dr. Jennifer Miller, says get screened during Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that more than 48,000 American adults will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year. While the prognosis beyond five years is good if the disease is detected early, hope for cure reduces if the cancer is advanced when it is discovered. As April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, your dentist in St. Peter,  Dr. Jennifer Miller, is concerned about these statistics. She urges her patients to come in for their semi-annual check-ups and receive screenings for oral cancer. It’s good insurance against this deadly illness.

Can You Get Oral Cancer?

Yes, you can. In fact, anyone can get oral cancer. That’s why your family dentist in St. Peter screens each and every patient–young person through senior adult–during his or her routine exam and cleaning at Valley View Dental. However, research from the Oral Cancer Foundation shows that many cancers of the head and neck, such as oral cancer, appear more frequently in some groups of people than in others and that some lifestyle factors contribute to it. For example, men over the age of 40 seem to be more at risk. However, the incidence among the women of that same age group has been increasing over the past ten years. Besides age and gender, other risk factors include:

  • Contact with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), a cause of in cervical cancer in women
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Cigarette or cigar smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Too much unprotected sun exposure

Amazingly, though, about seven percent of oral cancers seem linked to no predisposing factors. That’s why oncologists (cancer physicians), dentists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) urge people to get screened.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer often shows symptoms such as:

  • Ear pain on one side with no hearing loss
  • A sore throat and/or hoarse voice that does not resolve
  • Numbness, pain and tenderness of the tongue
  • A swelling, sore or lump in the mouth or in the throat
  • A change in how a denture fits

What is Screening Like?

Screening is very easy, quick and comfortable. Over time, your family dentist in St. Peter becomes well-acquainted with your mouth, including your teeth, gums, roof of the mouth and other oral tissues. As such, anything that changes is very obvious to her.

During your routine oral exam, Dr. Miller visually inspects your mouth for any sores, lumps, white patches, redness or swellings. She gently grasps the tongue with a sterile gauze pad and looks at the sides of the tongue and under it, looking for any lesions or abnormal color.  In addition, the dentist palpates, or feels, the neck at the angle of the jaw and at the sides to assess the lymph nodes.

Remember, as you develop a relationship with the staff at Valley View Dental, they will know your oral health very well. This enables them to make accurate assessments of all your dental health issues, including oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, and others.

Please Contact the Office

Have you had your routine dental examination? If not, contact Valley View Dental for an appointment.  Dr. Miller will perform your oral cancer screening to ensure your best dental health and overall well-being.


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