The five-year survival rate of those with oral cancer is 64%. Sounds low, right? That figure isn’t high because of a lack of treatment, but due to late detection.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year. Early detection is key to successful treatment, and regular oral examinations by your dental professional are the best methods for early detection.
Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal, malignant cells in or on the lips, the lining of the cheeks, salivary glands, roof of the mouth, back of the mouth, the floor of the mouth, gums, teeth, tongue, and tonsils. Often the early stages of this cancer are not noticed by the patient because there are no visible symptoms or pain.
Most often oral cancer is found in patients over the age of 50, but it can certainly occur earlier in life. Smoking cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or using chewing or spit tobacco can dramatically increase your risk. The risk increases for those that use tobacco and alcohol regularly. Recent studies have also shown a link between certain strands of the HPV virus and oral cancer among non-smoking patients.
It is important to know what to look for between dental checkups. Most often these symptoms are caused by other health issues, but it is still important to visit a doctor. If any of the following symptoms last more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with our office:
• a sore that doesn’t heal
• red or white patches
• bleeding in your mouth
• difficulty or pain when swallowing, chewing, or speaking
• lump in neck or mouth
• an earache that doesn’t go away
• pain, tenderness or numbness of lower lip or mouth
Questions about oral cancer or another dental health issue? Contact us today.