According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 132 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every day and one person dies every hour of every day from oral cancer. Those are staggering and terrifying statistics. The primary reason for this high death rate is that oral cancer is often detected in the late stage of development. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment can make all the difference. 

Dentists often find signs of oral cancer during routine dental cleanings and exam appointments– one more reason to schedule your appointment today! Dr. Mina Levi in San Francisco, CA, uses ViziLIte Oral Cancer Screening to detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. 


Factors that could increase your risk of developing oral cancer include: 

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • HPV
  • Being a male
  • Obesity
  • Being older than 55 years of age
  • Overexposure to UV light
  • Poor nutrition
  • Genetic syndromes like Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital


Early symptoms of oral cancer may only be visible to a dentist, but there are some abnormalities you can look for: 

  • A sore or ulcer that does not heal within two weeks
  • Red, white, or black discoloration of the tongue, lips, cheeks, and gums
  • Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched
  • A lump or hard spot
  • An abnormal growth
  • A sore beneath a denture that does not heal
  • A painless, firm lump on the outside of the neck that doesn’t go away after two weeks
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your throat when swallowing
  • Ear pain on one side
  • Numbness in the mouth or lips
  • Hoarseness or sore throat that lasts a few weeks

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment at our office immediately. 


Since tobacco and alcohol create one of the greatest risks for developing oral cancer, the best thing you can do to prevent it is to kick these habits. Limit drinking alcoholic beverages to special occasions and quit tobacco use altogether. 

Additionally, consume a healthy diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables, maintain good oral hygiene at home, and attend regular dental cleaning and exam appointments. 

Oral cancer cannot always be prevented, but treatment is much more successful when it is detected in the early stages of development. 


ViziLite identifies abnormal cells in the mouth and throat. First, Dr. Levi will administer a special rinse that causes the nuclei of the precancerous or cancerous cells to glow when the light shines over them. The healthy tissue will appear dark while unhealthy tissues show up white. The unhealthy areas may be oral cancer, benign, or the result of an irritation or bite. 

This process takes about two minutes and is painless. We recommend ViziLite Oral Cancer Screening every six months during your dental checkup. 


During your next dental checkup, be sure to ask our team about ViziLite Oral Cancer Screening. Your health is our top concern! If it’s been more than six months since your last appointment, call our office today at (415) 513-5066 or contact us online today to schedule your appointment.