Oral Cancer

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Apr 23 • 2 minute read

It’s that time of year. Time to schedule your oral cancer screening with Dr. Bleeker at Villa Canyon Prosthodontics in Scottsdale.

According to research conducted by the American Cancer Society--more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. The good news is that treatment is generally very effective when oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages. A dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year.

Let’s look at some of the signs of oral cancer and how oral cancer can be investigated so that appropriate and timely treatment can be recommended.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be difficult to detect without an oral cancer examination performed by a healthcare provider. In some cases, oral cancer is not noticeable until its later stages. Below are some potential signs and symptoms of oral cancer:

        Changes in the way the teeth fit together

        Difficulty moving the jaw

        Mouth sores that don’t heal

        Numbness or tenderness in the oral region

        Red or white spots on the cheek, lip, or tongue

        Bad taste or smell

Pathological Changes Commonly Investigated during an Oral Cancer Exam

Let’s begin by getting into some of the technical nitty gritty associated with oral cancer. The soft tissue of the mouth is lined with mucosa, or a mucous membrane.[1] Any alteration to the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process (an organic process occurring as a consequence of disease).[2] These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth. The most serious of these pathologic changes is oral cancer. Below are some of the pathological changes commonly investigated during an oral cancer exam:

        Red patches and sores



In many, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and can be disfiguring, but not life threatening. Below are some pathologic problems of a less serious nature:

        Geographic Tongue

        Median Palatal Cyst

        Hairy Tongue


Oral Cancer Screening

The oral cancer examination is a completely pain-free process. During the visual part of the examination, Dr. Bleeker will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps.

If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia, or lumps are apparent, Dr. Bleeker will make the appropriate referral and assist you throughout your treatments.

It is also important to note that around 75% of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Tobacco use itself is one of the main causes of oral cancer.

Dr. Bleeker can provide literature and education on making lifestyle changes--providing modern methods for smoking cessation.

Schedule your oral cancer screening in Scottsdale with Dr. Bleeker at Villa Canyon Prosthodontics!

To schedule your yearly oral cancer screening with Dr. Bleeker, please call 480-306-8510 or click here.

Remember to give your teeth the attention they need today!

[1] "Mucosa - Dictionary Definition." Vocabulary.com. Accessed April 18, 2018. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/mucosa.

[2] "Pathologic Process - Dictionary Definition." Vocabulary.com. Accessed April 18, 2018. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pathologic process.

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Scottsdale, Arizona Maxillofacial Prosthodontist, Dr. Michael Bleeker is dedicated to Prosthodontics offering services that include, Full Mouth Rehabilitation, Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Facial Trauma Reconstruction and more.

7502 E Pinnacle Peak Rd #B119Scottsdale, AZ 85255(480) 306-8510

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