According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 Americans will develop oral or throat cancer every year. While oral cancer starts in the mouth, it can spread to other parts of your body and even become deadly. More than 10,000 Americans are expected to die from throat and oral cancers annually, but this outcome can be prevented by early detection. Here’s what our dentist wants you to know.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is so dangerous because patients often don’t exhibit symptoms until it’s too late. Early detection can save your life. If you recognize any of the early signs of mouth cancer below, schedule an appointment with our dentist or your doctor as soon as possible.
Oral cancer symptoms include:
- White or red patches in mouth
- Numbness or pain when biting down
- Bleeding in mouth
- Lump in throat or mouth
- Lump on lips
- Hoarse voice
How Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives
Oral cancer screenings save lives by detecting mouth cancer in its early stages. The earlier our dentist is able to detect oral cancer symptoms, the better chance you’ll have of survival.
During a clinical examination, our dentist examines the inside of your mouth for patches and sores that don’t belong. She will also feel along the inside of your cheek and other parts of your mouth for bumps. If she notices any patches, sores, swelling, or other potential signs of oral cancer, she may perform a more thorough check.
Oral cancer screenings are quick, pain-free, and can be completed as part of your regular dental checkup. Visiting our oral cancer screening dentist on a regular basis is the best way to make sure you stay cancer-free.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
If you have a history of using tobacco products or abusing alcohol, you are at higher risk for oral cancer. You are also at a higher risk for lip cancer if you don’t use sun protection on your lips while spending long periods of time outside.
Oral cancer is more common in men than women and is usually found in patients over the age of 55. Poor nutrition and poor oral health are also risk factors.
However, oral cancer can affect anyone, even people with none of these risk factors. If you recognize any of the signs of oral cancer, schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible for an oral cancer screening. That small step may end up saving your life.
While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t get oral cancer, there are things you can do to lower your risk. By doing the following, you’ll be able to reduce the likelihood of getting oral cancer.
- Stop using tobacco products.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.
- Wear sun protection on your lips.
- Eat a nutritious diet.