According to research conducted by the American Cancer society, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. More than 7,000 of these cases result in the death of the patient. The good news is that oral cancer can easily be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages.
Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Oral cancer can occur on the:
- Inner lining of the cheeks
- Roof of the mouth
- Floor of the mouth
Although smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are major factors that can cause oral cancer, recent data shows an increase in the oral cancer population that are non-smokers under the age of fifty. Regular visits to the dentist can lead to early detection and possible prevention of the disease.
Symptoms and early signs of oral cancer include, but are not limited to:
- Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth oral cancer
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
If you are at high risk for oral cancer, or have any of the above symptoms, please schedule an appointment to get an oral examination.