We, as your dentist, are in a unique position – inside your mouth! – to detect and diagnose oral cancer in the earliest stages before it progresses and becomes deadly. It has historically been diagnosed in the late stages where it is very hard to treat. This is another great reason to come see us twice per year for cleanings and exams!
Signs of Oral Cancer – Can be found anywhere inside the mouth: on the lips, cheeks, tongue, palate, under the tongue, or in the throat.
- Swelling, thickening, lumps, rough spots, crusting, or erosion
- Velvety white, red, or speckled patches
- Unexplained bleeding
- Numbness or loss of feeling
- Pain or tenderness
- Persistent sores
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, change in voice
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
- Smoking – Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers
- Chewing – Patients who dip, snuff, or chew are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer
- Alcohol – Oral cancer is six times more common in drinkers than non-drinkers
- Family history of cancer
- Excessive sun exposure