THIS YEAR ALONE, 400,000 people throughout the world will be diagnosed with oral cancer. 40% of those diagnosed won’t live another five years. Oral cancer has such a dismal survival rate because it’s usually not detected until very late in its progression. Because April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to read through this article and to maintain regularly scheduled checkups.
What Are The Risk Factors For Oral Cancer?
There are several factors that Dr. Foster & Dr. Spencer want you to be aware of when it comes to oral cancer. Most of you are educated about these risk factors, but the Foster Dental Care team would like to review them with you.
The greatest risk factors are from Tobacco and Alcohol use. Smoking or chewing tobacco could result in the development of cancer in the cheek, gums, mouth, throat, and inner surface of the lips. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cancer. For patients who smoke AND drink alcohol the oral cancer risk escalates. Oral cancers are most commonly found in older patients – the exception being patients who are diagnosed with the HPV infection.
What Can You Expect From A Screening At Our Office?
At each dental cleaning your hygienist performs an oral cancer screening. The hygienists are making sure that there are no visible lesions and feeling for nodules that could be potentially cancerous. They check the floor of your mouth, examine both sides of your tongue and examine along your mandible bone. This is just one of the many reasons why it is important for you to keep your regular dental cleanings at Foster Dental Care. We want to be sure that these oral cancer symptoms are detected early along with helping you have optimal dental health.
Early Detection Is SO Important
Early oral cancer detection can boost survival rates to 80–90%! One of the reasons oral cancer goes undetected is because many of the symptoms are not painful. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please let us know right away:
- A lump or thickening of your cheek
- A white or red patch on any part of your inner mouth or throat
- A sore inside your mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks
- Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw
- Numbness inside your mouth
- Chronic difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Jaw swelling
Blythe Danner on Oral Cancer:
As your trusted, lifelong oral health partner, we want to keep you and your loved ones as healthy as possible. Let us know if you have questions about oral cancer or any of the symptoms mentioned above. And share this information with someone you love!