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Oral Cancer Screening

Dr. Guzman is committed to ensuring his patients from San Francisco, CA and the surrounding neighborhoods receive the most comprehensive array of oral health services and treatments, offering oral cancer screening services during routine exams and other dental appointments aimed at identifying cancer in its earliest stages so patients can get immediate care.

Oral Cancer Screening Q & A

by Baltazar Guzman, DDS

What is an oral cancer screening?

Oral cancer screening is a simple exam of your mouth, including the insides of your cheeks, your palate and other structures, to look for abnormal tissue that could be an indication of cancer. When an abnormal area is identified, a small sample of cells may be taken and sent to a lab for further evaluation to determine if cancer is present. Samples can be obtained using a special brush which gently scrapes cells from the surface of your mouth or by cutting a very small sample of tissue from your mouth using special techniques and a numbing agent. Our office performs oral cancer screening during routine dental checkups and at other office visits to ensure we can identify subtle changes that could require additional evaluation.

What kinds of signs or symptoms does oral cancer cause?

The most common symptoms associated with oral cancer include:

  • Discolored areas on the palate, tongue, cheeks, lips or other areas, which can include reddish, whitish or light-colored patches, blotches or speckled areas
  • Bumps, lumps or rough-textured patches
  • Areas of numbness or unexplained bleeding in the mouth that are not associated with gum disease or infection
  • Numbness or slow-to-heal sores elsewhere in the neck or head
  • Chronic hoarseness or sore throat
  • Foreign object sensation in the throat
  • Ear pain
  • Problems swallowing or moving the jaw
  • Changes in the way your dentures fit or feel or the way your teeth meet when you close your mouth

How can I tell if I'm at risk for oral cancer?

Oral cancer can occur in anyone, but some risk factors have been identified that make it more likely you may develop cancer, including:

  • Smoking and use of any kind of tobacco
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Presence of HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Extensive sun exposure during your lifetime

For more information on oral cancer, click here.

We are fortunate here at Dr. Guzman’s office to have the latest and greatest technology, allowing our professional team of hygienist and dentist the ability to detect dangerous lesions that would have otherwise been undetected with the naked eye. VELscope helps our team save lives. Check out this website:

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  • "Dr. Guzman and staff are awesome! Plus the office has beautiful views of the GG Bridge to Alcatraz. Highly recommend."
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  • "Dr. Guzman and staff are awesome! Plus the office has beautiful views of the GG Bridge to Alcatraz. Highly recommend."
    Jim D.