According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, over 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Of those more than 45,000 newly-diagnosed individuals, just over half will be alive in 5 years. This number has not significantly improved in decades.
The good news is that most cancers of the mouth can be cured if caught early. Our team conducts oral cancer screenings at every regular exam, when studies show that barely 30% of dental offices do it even yearly. They also recommend that you conduct monthly exams at home. If you detect any of the following signs or symptoms in your mouth, on your gums, tongue or lips, please contact your dentist immediately.
Oral Cancer Symptoms:
- White or velvety red patches that will not rub off or heal
- Sores or swelling that last longer than 2-3 weeks
- Repeated bleeding with no apparent cause
- Numbness or pain in any area
- Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw.
- A mouth sore that bleeds easily, or fails to heal
Oral Cancer Risk Factors:
- The use of smokeless tobacco (especially when used in combination with alcohol)
- Gender – oral cancers are about twice as common in men as in women
- Ultraviolet light (cancers of the lip)
- Poor nutrition
- HPV (human papilloma viruses)