How and Why to Look for Oral Cancer

In the public eye, cancer is most commonly associated with the breasts, lungs, skin, prostate, and other body organs. However, oral cancer is one of the most prevalent and dangerous, affecting approximately 40,000 new patients in the United Sates every year and claiming the lives of over 8,000 in the same time period. An oral cancer examination is a routine part of your regular dental exam and cleaning. If you neglect a visit, then oral cancer can go on unnoticed and become more difficult to treat by the time it’s detected.  Dedicated Cerritos oral surgeon, Dr. Shawn Hofkes, encourages everyone to periodically perform oral cancer self-examinations to reduce the risk of late detection.

Oral Cancer Self-Examination

A professional oral cancer screening offers the best chance of detecting the condition early. As an oral/maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Hofkes can expertly distinguish signs of abnormalities, and recommend an oral tissue biopsy, if necessary. Between your regular screenings, you can perform self-examinations by checking closely for the following;

  • Chronic sore and/or hoarse throat
  • Difficult and/or painful swallowing
  • Abnormal lumps or thickening of tissues in the mouth
  • White and/or red patches on the inside of your cheeks, lips, tongue, or any oral tissues
  • A stubborn sore that bleeds and won’t heal

Oral Cancer at a Glance

Oral cancer’s disturbing effectiveness isn’t due to any specific difficulty in diagnosing or treating it. Unfortunately, oral cancer often isn’t detected until it has metastasized into other tissues, like the lymph nodes, and late detection is one of the most important factors in oral cancer treatment’s success. In fact, when detected and treated early, oral cancer’s survival rate jumps from 57% to over 81%. Improve your chances of defeating oral cancer by diligently attending an oral exam and cleaning at least once every six months, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). If you notice abnormal tissues during your self-examination, then visit Dr. Hofkes immediately for a comprehensive analysis, including an oral tissue biopsy, to determine if oral cancer is present.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis of oral cancer. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.