If you are at high risk for oral cancer, it's a good idea to be screened early. Each year, more than 35,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer, and 7,500 people die from the disease. However, when detected and treated early, oral cancer can be cured. During early screening, your dentist will check about 10 places around your tongue and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Your risk for oral cancer increases if you or a family member have had cancer, or if you smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol.