logo of Immel2
1514 W Yakima Ave
Yakima, WA 98902
Call Us Today: (509) 457-5387
button for Immel Request Appt
button for Immel Dental Implants
button for Immel Cosmetic Bleaching
button for Immel New Patient Forms
logo of Immel WSDA logo of Immel ADA

logo of Immel YAKIMA
ADA Accessibility Information


slide show image slidesub1
slide show image slidesub1

Oral Cancer Screening
Yakima, WA

A woman smiling after receiving the results of her oral cancer screening at Victor Immel, DMD, PS in Yakima, WAAlong with your at-home oral care routine, the American Dental Association recommends that you have at least two professional cleanings and exams each year. At Victor Immel, DMD, PS, we can perform these cleanings and exams, helping you to optimize your oral health. During your oral exam, we check the condition of your teeth and gums, checking for signs of damage, tooth decay, and infection. At this time, we also perform an oral cancer screening.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a serious oral health issue that affects over 40,000 Americans every year. It can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, palate, or the back of the mouth near the throat. Oral cancer not only impacts the functions of your mouth, affecting your abilities to eat and speak, it also impacts your overall quality of life. If not treated early, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body, and can even be fatal. Early detection and subsequent treatment are essential for increasing your likelihood of restoring a healthy life.

Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?

There are numerous risk factors for oral cancer. While some of these risk factors are out of your control, there are others that you can do something about. Common risk factors for oral cancer include:

•  Certain lifestyle habits. If you smoke, use other tobacco products, or drink heavily, your risk for developing oral cancer increases drastically. Former smokers make up approximately 90% of oral cancer patients, while former drinkers make up 70% to 80% of oral cancer patients. If you are both a smoker and a heavy drinker, the risk increases almost exponentially.
•  HPV. There are numerous strains of the human papillomavirus or HPV. Some of these strains are linked to an increased risk for oral cancer.
•  You have a family history of oral cancer. If another member of your family has had oral cancer, your risk is higher.
•  Your age. Older adults are at greater risk.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

During your oral cancer screening, we look over all of your oral tissues, checking for any abnormalities. We also check your face and neck for signs of swelling. Your dental exams are scheduled six months apart. It is possible for symptoms to show between visits. If they do, it is important to take action immediately, not wait for your next appointment to address the issue. Knowing the symptoms can help you to take action sooner.

•  Red or white patches in the soft tissues of your mouth.
•  Unusual growths.
•  Sores that refuse to heal.
•  Changes in your bite or, if you wear dentures, changes in the way your prosthesis fits.
•  Difficulty eating, speaking, or swallowing.
•  A numb sensation in your chin or jaw

How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

The earlier that oral cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances that your oral, and overall, health can be restored. If we find something unusual during your oral cancer screening, or you notice something unusual at home, a thorough oral exam is needed.

Along with the visual exam of your mouth, we also take X-rays. These images will enable us to see the hidden areas of your mouth. A biopsy is also a common tool and used to diagnose or rule out, the presence of oral cancer. A biopsy involves the removal of a portion of the unusual growth for closer examination under a microscope. If oral cancer is diagnosed, we can then help you to get the treatment you need right away.

While we perform an oral cancer screening at each visit, the symptoms can show up at any time. If you notice any symptoms that are causing you concern, call Victor Immel, DMD, PS to schedule your consultation today at (509) 457-5387.