According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, head and neck cancer was the 8th leading cause of death worldwide in 2000. Additionally, in a recent study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that many types of Human Papilloma Virus can also lead to cancer of the oral cavity and oropharynx (throat). Oral cancer is a serious concern because though incidence is low, survival is also low and treatment has not improved in success for several decades.
Oral cancer risk factors:
- Tobacco (smoking, chewing tobacco, cigar smoking, snuff)
During your appointment, we will do a thorough examination of your tissues, especially those most likely to develop oral cancer. These include: lips, cheeks, jaw, roof of the mouth, side and bottom of the tongue, and throat.
One of the concerns with oral cancer is that it is often small and painless and often goes unnoticed by the victim. This is why it is important to continue regular dental care. We are specially trained to spot suspicious lesions and will often recommend that we biopsy the tissue. Oral cancer is so deadly because it is usually caught very late. We work to catch it early, giving you the highest chance of survival.
Oral cancer is also hard to detect because it often looks or feels like other common ailments. It can look red, white, or like an ulcer or canker sore. Often, biting your cheek can look similar to an oral cancer lesion. Usually, it is not necessary to be concerned about a lesion in your mouth unless it does not heal within 14 days. If you notice a lesion in your mouth that persists longer than two weeks, please make an appointment to be seen by one of our trained staff.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer:
- Red or white patch that lasts for more than two weeks
- Small, raised ulcer (looks like canker sore) that lasts more than two weeks
- Lump inside mouth or neck lasting more than two weeks
- Pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking or chewing that lasts longer than two weeks
- Wart like masses
- Hoarseness that is long lasting
- Numbness in the oral region
- Sometimes, a unilateral persistent earache is a warning sign
For more information visit The Oral Cancer Foundation website.
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Gentle Dental Care in Savage, MN!
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