One of the most important jobs we have is to examine, monitor, and diagnose oral cancer in our patients. Every year, nearly 52,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. More than 8,000 of those people will die. This is why it is crucial to get routine oral exams and keep a close eye on the state of your mouth.
To make sure that you stay educated and healthy, here is a list of the most important facts you should know about oral cancer:
- 90% of oral cancers begin in the surface area of the mouth, tongue, and lips. We highly recommend performing regular self-exams, which your dentist can review with you!
- Cancer found on the tongue, gums, lips, throat, or back of mouth is considered oral cancer.
- Largest risk factors: Tobacco and alcohol use are two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
- Other risk factors: Pre-cancerous oral lesion, excessive UV/sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), certain drugs and genetic syndromes.
- If you are experiencing these common oral cancer symptoms, call our office: Sores that don’t heal, lumps inside the mouth, white or red patches on soft tissues in the mouth, bleeding, pain when swallowing or chewing, numbness, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, lumps in neck, hoarseness, and more.
- To diagnose oral cancer, we will examine the mouth and neck, inquire about your exposure to risk factors, and possibly order biopsies and imaging of the head (CT, MRI, etc).
- Pain is not typically present with early stage oral cancer, so it is crucial to get routine oral checks!
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment! 209-836-3870