Cancer occurs from the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells, and it can manifest itself in virtually any part of your body. Many casual conversations about cancer, however, do not always include oral cancer, instead concentrating on more notorious forms, such as breast cancer. Despite the lack of attention, however, oral cancer continues to run rampant with close to 40,000 Americans newly diagnosed every year. To help raise awareness of this destructive malady, we discuss oral cancer and the importance of early detection.
Oral Cancer Facts
- Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, sinuses, and other areas of the mouth, causes the death of over 8,000 Americans a year. Of the 40,000 new cases within the same period, only 57% will survive five years after their diagnosis.
- Oral cancer’s less-than-impressive survival rate is due mostly to late detection. When detected early, the survival rate drastically increases from 57% to around 81%.
- Most oral cancer detection takes place in a dental health specialist’s chair. Aside from inspecting your mouth for tooth decay and gum disease, a major part of your examination involves a thorough inspection for abnormalities that can indicate oral cancer or other systemic illnesses.
- Common risk factors for oral cancer include, but are not limited to: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of cancer, and excessive sun exposure, among others.
Signs of Early Detection
You can also perform self-examinations at home to determine if you may be at risk for oral cancer by looking for the following:
- White and/or red patches on any of your mouth’s soft tissues
- A sore that bleeds and refuses to heal
- Chronic sore throat and/or hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- A lump in the neck
Learn More About Oral Cancer and Early Detection
With regular exams and routine self-exams, you can gain a significant advantage if oral cancer ever develops. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania by calling her periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.