Encompass Dental Studios

3024 25TH ST., COLUMBUS, NE 68601 | 402-563-4565

Oral Cancer Screenings

According to cancer.org, around 54,000 people every year are diagnosed with oral cancer. Just over 11,000 of those cases will prove to be fatal. The key to successful treatment is early detection. Since the early symptoms of this disease can be hard to recognize, oral cancer screenings are performed with your regular dental hygiene health visits. Should you notice something unusual in your mouth, face or neck, call Encompass Dental Studios at 402-563-4565 for an appointment with Dr. Susan Alexander.

Oral cancer refers to cancer that affects the lips, cheeks, tongue, throat, sinuses and hard and soft palates. Oropharyngeal cancer impacts the oropharynx (the base of the tongue, tonsillar pillars and crypt, as well as the tonsils themselves). Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Oral bleeding
  • A white or red area in the mouth
  • Changes in the texture of your oral tissues
  • Swelling or lumps in the neck, face or mouth
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in the back of your throat
  • Pain or numbness in your mouth, face or neck
  • Sores in your mouth or on your neck or face that will not heal
  • Ear pain
  • Oral appliances that no longer fit
  • Problems with basic oral functions, such as eating, swallowing, breathing or speaking

When you visit our office for a screening, your dental hygienist and Dr. Alexander will give you a careful oral examination and will use gloved hands to check for any irregularities. We will also examine your throat, head and neck. We will discuss with you any concerns if we find abnormalities during this screening, which may result in our referring you to a specialist to help identify any possible problems.



Discussing HPV can be an uncomfortable topic, but it is very important in knowing its association with oral and oropharyngeal cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer is from HPV. A smaller number of oral cavity cancers also occur from HPV. Transmission of the virus occurs when moist areas of skin (epithelial tissue) or mucosa come into contact with a virus, allowing it to transfer between epithelial cells.

The CDC says that up to 80% of Americans will have HPV infections in their lifetime and 99% will clear these infections without consequence or even knowing that they had the infection, as it produces no symptoms they will notice. The body’s immune system is usually able to get rid of an HPV infection, and many infections come and go without causing any problems or before an individual even knows they were infected.

The information provided is not meant to scare you. Oropharyngeal cancers, while increasing rapidly in incidence, are still a small risk in our world. This information is meant to educate you about the risk factors, signs and symptoms of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. An informed individual will be able to discover something that is going wrong and bring it to the attention of a medical or dental professional for the earliest possible diagnosis of a problem.

Early discovery has many positive impacts when you consider cancer detection, potentially longer life spans and a reduction of treatment-related morbidity, which significantly improves post-cancer-treatment quality of life. To learn more, visit https://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/hpv/

I didn't know it was possible to feel comfortable during a dental appointment. The staff are great and friendly. The doctor is very gentle and knowledgeable. They explain everything to you and that's a plus, specially in a Dental Office. I definitely recommend it!

- Daniel V.

We would love to hear from you
regarding any questions you may have.

Dr. Alexander and her teamare always willing to help answer your questions regarding our comprehensive dental services in Columbus, Nebraska, at Encompass Dental Studios. If you would like to schedule your next appointment with us, feel free to give us a call.

Call Us: 402-563-4565

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