Every hour of every day, one American dies of oral cancer. This is surprising to many people. Early detection is the key a successful outcome. If caught in stage one, the success rate for oral cancer exceeds 80%.
To describe cancer in general terms, it is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer begins as a lasting growth or sores in the mouth. It includes cancers in the areas around the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, cheeks, and floor & roof of the mouth. An oral cancer screening is automatically included in your regular dental check-up at Kopp & Bloom.
How does the dentist perform an oral cancer screening?
Regular screening are quick, easy and pain free. It takes less than five minutes to examine head, neck, jaw and mouth for any signs of cancer.
Why should I be screened for oral cancer?
It is part of good overall dental hygiene care to be screened for any problems with the mouth. However, certain factors may increase your risk for oral cancer, including:
- Using smokeless tobacco
- Using marijuana
- Heavy alcohol use
- HPV (Human papillomavirus)
- Males have a higher risk of developing oral cancers
- Long periods of exposure to UV light from sun or tanning beds increases risk of oral cancers of the lip
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Oral cancers typically start in the lining of the lips or mouth. Symptoms include:
- Lasting growths or sores that do not heal
- Lumps, thickening, or rough spots
- White or red patches in the mouth
- Mouth or lip numbness, pain, or tenderness
- Swelling in the jaw and sore throats
- Unexplained difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving jaw or tongue
How do you treat oral cancer?
If we see anything suspicious, most likely you will be given a referral to a specialist to evaluate. Oral cancer can be treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Treatment depends on the stage of oral cancer and your current state of health. At advanced stages, oral cancer can be treated with chemotherapy.