Mouth cancer is a disease where cells in the mouth grow out of control. It can affect anyone. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, about 50,000 people in the U.S. get oral cancer yearly; 70% are men. About 10,000 people will lose their lives to oral cancer, 25% of oral cancer patients have no risk factors, and 40% do not live more than five years past diagnosis. The number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer has grown by around a third in the last decade and remains one of the very few cancers predicted to increase further in the coming years.
Oral cancer can strike in several places, including the lips, tongue, gums, and cheek; we all must know what to look for. Early mouth cancer detection is crucial, and everyone should know how to spot mouth cancer early by regularly checking for unusual changes in the mouth. A quick check for oral cancer can be done at home and takes less than 1 minute. Look in the mirror for signs in the mouth, tongue, lips, head, or neck.
There are common signs and symptoms of mouth cancer:
Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks
Red and white patches in the mouth
Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area
Persistent pain or tenderness when swallowing
Tips for Mouth Cancer Preventing
Avoid commercial tobacco, which exposes the mouth to cancer-causing chemicals.
Limit alcohol use. Alcohol can cause mouth cancer by damaging DNA.
Get vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus), which infects oral cells. HPV often has no symptoms.
Limit sun exposure because the sun can cause lip cancer. Use a lip balm with sunscreen to protect your lips from harmful sun exposure.
Maintain a healthy weight and be active. Poor diet and lack of exercise can make it easier to develop cancer.
If any mouth cancer signs are noticed (abnormal growths, discoloration, tenderness, or bleeding), please tell your dentist immediately! One person dies every hour from oral cancer. Mouth cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Do not turn into a statistic! If caught in its early stages, there is an 83% survival rate. When it is seen before, it is much easier for doctors to treat. Make your appointment today for an exam and dental X-rays. Routine cleanings are for more than cleaning plaque off your teeth! Oral cancer screenings are an essential step in regular dental visits that we do not take lightly. Prioritize regular visits to your dentist to stay on top of your oral health!
We are dedicated to preventing oral cancer! For patients with concerns about changes to their tongue, gums, and soft tissues and those with risk factors, an oral cancer screening at Advanced Dental Center is quick and painless! We can detect cellular changes that may manifest - even before they can be seen with the naked eye, which is critical because, usually, when cellular changes can be seen, oral cancer is likely at a more advanced stage.