While hearing the term 'cancer' can be scary, early detection of pre-cancerous tissue can minimize or eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer and possibly save your life. Many oral cancers have a high success rate of being treated, especially when found early.
The term 'Oral Cancer' includes cancerous growths in the cheeks, lips, mouth, throat, sinus, tongue, or anywhere in the oral cavity. As with most cancers, age is the primary risk factor for oral cancer, as most people diagnosed with a form of oral cancer are over 55.
Symptoms of Oral Cancers include:
- a lump in your neck or throat
- bleeding of your lips or oral cavity
- visible sore on your lip or in your mouth that does not seem to heal
- white or red patches (either on your lips, tongue, inside of your cheeks, on the roof or under your tongue)
- difficulty speaking clearly, chewing or swallowing
- loose teeth
- discomfort in your neck, throat or ears
- unexplained weight loss
- dentures that have become poorly fitting
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or are concerned about your oral health, do not wait for your next routine exam, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Whether there is cancer present or not, ignoring oral health problems or symptoms will not make them go away.