Oral Cancer: Know the Signs
Did you know that mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide? The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. Now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer.
Remember—early detection saves lives! It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.
What are the risks?
Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
- Smoking and using tobacco products are a known long-term historic cause of oral cancer.
- Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
- The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
- The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth
- Dramatic weight loss
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
Don’t wait any longer. Be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!