San Diego Periodontist Discusses Oral Cancer

Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Dr. Ann Kania along with the American Dental Association use this month to educate the public on the dangers of oral cancer. This year, nearly 40,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed by doctors and dentists throughout the United States. Sadly, almost 8,000 lives are lost annually to this illness. Like other types of cancer, detecting oral cancer early on increases a patient’s chances of survival.

Oral Cancer Information and Risk Factors

Oral cancers may form anywhere in the oral cavity including on the lips, tongue, and soft oral tissues. Certain lifestyle choices significantly increase the risk for oral cancer. Common risk factors such as using tobacco and heavy alcohol use contribute to oral cancer. Patients who are carriers of HPV or those who have had excessive UV exposure are also at risk. However, nearly one-fourth of patients who developed oral cancer had no known risk factors.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Oral sores that heal slowly
  • Bumps or lumps in oral tissue
  • Discoloration on the lips, tongue, or soft tissues
  • Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Earaches
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss

Prevention and Detection of Oral Cancer in Encinitas

The American Dental Association recommends that patients schedule annual oral examinations and avoid lifestyle choices that contribute to oral cancer. In addition to looking for periodontal disease at your regular oral examination, Dr. Kania will also screen patients for signs of oral cancer by looking for abnormal lesions, discoloration, and lumps in the mouth. She will also feel for any lumps on the neck, face, and head. Oral cancer screenings are quick and minimally invasive.

To schedule an examination with Dr. Kania, contact our Encinitas periodontist office at (760) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, Del Mar, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and the neighboring San Diego areas.