Oral cancer is divided into two different categories.
One type can occur in your lips, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of your tongue, and the floor and roof of your mouth. The other type of oral cancer occurs in the oropharynx, which is the middle region of your throat that includes the tonsils and base of the tongue.
Research shows that early detection results in better treatment outcomes, and may help keep you or someone you love from becoming one of the 10,030 people whose lives may be claimed this year by the disease.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
It’s important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks:
- A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- Red or white patches on your gums
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in your mouth or on your lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Who Is At Risk?
Research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing oral cancers. For instance, men are twice more likely to get oral cancer than women. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers older than 50 are also at a greater risk.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted, has also been associated with throat cancers at the back of the mouth. HPV-positive head and neck cancers are related to the rise in throat cancers in non-smoking adults. HPV-positive head and neck cancers typically develop in the throat at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils making them difficult to detect.
How Can My Dentist Help Detect Oral Cancer Early?
During each exam at Snow Family Dentistry, Dr. Snow performs an oral cancer screen in and around your mouth to ensure early detection of anything abnormal.
If something unusual is found, you may be referred to a physician for additional testing, or Dr. Snow may choose to reexamine the area one or two weeks later before providing additional follow up. This will determine if the area in question healed on its own or if it needs further testing.
Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry
Do you think you may have oral cancer and want to get checked out? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation today!