We didn’t want April to pass without providing some information about Oral Cancer. Did you know that there are over 37,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, however oral cancer accounts for less than 5% of all cancers in the U.S.? Most people don’t realize that the young, non-smoking population is the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients. Oral cancer awareness is vital to surviving this deadly disease; when detected early Oral cancer is survivable.
For the average person early stage oral cancer is relatively painless so it can go undetected. Your dentist should check for signs of problems at every dental checkup. The American Dental Association asks all dentists to perform a routine oral cancer screening as part of a standard dental checkup. Some dentists do not do oral cancer screenings. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask.
Oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer which is found at the base of the tongue, back of the throat or tonsils can be detected by your dentist or hygienist. The most effective oral cancer screening is a visual and tactile exam that includes palpation of the neck. Some practices use oral cancer screening devices in addition to the visual and tactile exam, but these are not as common.
Oral cancer begins as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. It can be found on the lips, tongue, cheeks, anywhere on the floor or roof of the mouth. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include lumps or bumps, swelling or thickening, crusty areas or eroded areas in the mouth. Velvety white, red or speckled patches in the mouth. Other signs of oral cancer include unexplained bleeding in the mouth, numbness or loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in your mouth, neck, or face.
If you have any irregularities in your mouth or develop any of the symptoms mentioned above, call Dr. Morris for a dental exam appointment right away.