What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

During April, the team at Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry will be acknowledging Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout April we will be offering free screenings to raise awareness about this serious and widespread disease. What happens during an oral cancer screening? How often should I be screened?

The Screening

The visual check for oral cancer occurs as part of a routine checkup. While looking for indicators of gum disease and tooth decay, the doctor will watch for any possible warning signs of cancer. We recommend a screening for adults at least once a year. During April these will be free of charge so please take advantage of our special and contact our office today.

What are the Symptoms?

What are the symptoms to watch for? There are actually quite a few possible warning signs, most dealing with sudden discomfort or pain in the oral cavity. Possible symptoms include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Unexplained bleeding or sores/lesions that don’t heal after 14 days
  • Hoarseness or a chronic sore throat
  • Pain when eating or swallowing
  • Earaches or a change in voice
  • Patches of white and red speckles in the mouth

If any of these warning signs sound familiar, then please schedule a visit right away. Remember, over 50% of the over 45,000 people diagnosed a year will die within five years. The high mortality rate reflects the fact that the disease is rarely discovered in the early stages. Early detection can increase the chances of a full recovery.

What Happens If the Doctor Finds Something?

Should the doctor discover a potentially cancerous or precancerous area, a biopsy will be ordered. Should oral cancer be discovered you will need to see a physician to receive a thorough diagnosis and to discuss your possible treatment options.


Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offer expert services including dental implants, Six Month Smiles, pediatric dentistry, root canals, and teeth whitening in Rochester MN. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.