Annually, in the US, around 12.000 people die from oral cancer. Oral cancer can appear as a lesion in the mouth that doesn’t heal or go away. Oral cancer can include cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat).
Oral cancer can be life threatening when not diagnosed or treated in an early stage. Frequently self-check your mouth for anything irregular.
In conclusion, oral cancer should be dealt with in its earliest stage. When you experience any symptoms, please do not wait. Make a dental appointment immediately.
Though oral cancer is increasing over the last decades due to using tobacco, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and drinking too much alcohol, not all dentist actively screen for the disease during check-ups.
Oral cancer screenings are usually requested by the patient when they have discomfort or pain in a certain area of the mouth. The point is that oral cancer screening can prevent oral disease before the symptoms become apparent.
The main objective of oral cancer screenings is to detect mouth (oral) cancer or precancerous lesions that could lead to mouth cancer at an early stage. Note: When detected at an early stage, lesions are easiest to treat and remove.
Last but not least, when you suspect your partner to experience any signs of oral cancer, please convince the person to go to the dentist ASAP. Please don’t wait. Waiting will only make things worse.
The Moffitt Cancer Center recommends that people over the age of 20 get an oral cancer screening at least every three years and people over the age of 40 should get them done annually, regardless of showing symptoms.
Being screened is especially critical for people people with high-risk attributes, lifestyles and pre-existing conditions such as:
According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer is approximately twice as common in men as it is women. Most people diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 55. With that said, annual screenings are still of value to your health and early prevention, even if you’re not in the 55+ age bracket.
Many dentists often screen you for oral cancer during regular cleanings and appointments as part of their routine. However, it is important to ask your dentist to preform an oral cancer screening with specific intention, as not all dentists do so as common practice.
“Oral cancer screenings are usually requested by the patient when they have discomfort or pain in a certain area of the mouth. The point is that oral cancer screening can prevent oral disease before the symptoms become apparent.”
If you begin showing any of the following signs, it’s time to get an urgent oral cancer screening:
The most common locations for cancer in the oral cavity are:
Whether you experience one or many of the symptoms above, your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong and needs your utmost attention. Acting sooner than later by contacting your dentist for an oral cancer screening could save your life.
Dr. Kyle Radin: “We strive to actively screen for oral cancer during patient appointments and spot early warning signs that need immediate treatment: While some of the symptoms of oral cancer may overlap with other oral health related issues, it’s critical that you don’t write these signs off as “nothing” or wait it out until it goes away on its own.
Unfortunately, this mentality isn’t really aligned with how dental health normally works. Listen to your body, trust your instincts and contact us today for an oral cancer screening if you’re experiencing any warning signals.”