Oral Cancer Exam



An oral cancer exam is an important part of your regular dental checkup. Oral cancer is a serious disease that can be deadly if not caught early. During an oral cancer exam, your Boulder dentist will check your mouth, tongue, and lips for any signs of cancer. We will also feel your neck and jaw for any lumps or swellings. If your dentist finds anything suspicious, they will refer you to a specialist for further testing.

By performing a thorough visual exam we can often find mucosal abnormalities, including pre-malignant and malignant lesions that might be missed otherwise. At Boulder Smiles, we are compelled to offer this exam to all of our adult patients as more than 25% of oral cancer victims have no lifestyle risk factors (tobacco/alcohol use). Epstein JB DMD, MSD, FRCD(C); Silverman S Jr DDS; Epstein JD MA; Lonky SA MD, FACP, MBA; Bride MA DDS Analysis of Oral Lesion Biopsies Identified and Evaluated by Visual Examination, Chemiluminescence, and Toluidine Blue.

Statistics, Facts, and Famous Victims

The Deadly Statistics

  • Every hour of every day, one American dies of oral cancer.

  • The mortality rate associated with oral cancer has not improved significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall have decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%.

  • The death rate in the United States for oral cancer is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the brain, liver, testes, kidney, or ovarian cancer.

  • More than 30,000 Americans will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year. In five years, less than 57% will still be alive.

  • 8,000 Americans will die each year of oral cancer.


Oral cancer is far too often detected in late-stage development — the primary reason for the high death rate. Oral cancer can have potentially disfiguring effects on patients, seriously compromising their quality of life. Early detection of abnormalities can make a large difference in life expectancy; oral cancer is 90% curable when found early. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, and 43% of those diagnosed will die within five years.

Famous Victims

Oral cancer has touched the lives of many people; however, some of the better-known oral cancer victims may surprise you.

  • Babe Ruth

  • Sigmund Freud

  • Jack Klugman

  • Aaron Spelling

  • Alan King

  • Humphrey Bogart

  • Lana Turner

  • Eddie Van Halen

  • Rod Stewart

  • Bill Blass

  • Burl Ives

  • Sammy Davis, Jr.

  • John Prine

  • Jim Thorpe

  • Mary Wells

  • George Harrison

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Drs. Russ and Birnbach offer a number of dental treatments that can keep your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful. Contact us today!

Call Us: 303-443-4417 | schedule an Appointment