When it comes to treating oral cancer, early detection is essential. That's why your dentist will likely do a thorough inspection for signs of cancer at your exams, and he may request a special oral cancer screening.
However, it is important to be aware of the changes to your own mouth, and if you notice any signs of oral cancer you should be sure to consult with your dentist right away.
What Are the Signs of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer doesn't present exactly the same for everyone. However, there are some signs and symptoms that are most commonly witnessed with this disease:
A sore in the mouth that won't heal or go away.
Oral pain that doesn't go away.
Thickening of the cheek.
A lump or bump in the cheek.
Red or white patches in the mouth.
Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
Difficulty with moving the tongue or jaw.
Numbness in the mouth or on the tongue.
Swelling that makes it difficult to open or shut the mouth or results in problems with the dentures.
Many of these symptoms are caused by issues other than oral cancer. Still, if you notice any of them, it is important to get a screening by your dentist right away.
Are You at a Heighted Risk for Oral Cancer?
An exact cause for oral cancer isn't known. However, there are certain risk factors that can heighten your chances of developing the disease.
Tobacco use, consumption of large quantities of alcohol, family history of oral cancer, sun exposure, and HPV exposure are all thought to increase your risk of oral cancer. Plus, previous head and neck cancer diagnoses and an older age will also increase your risk.
If you're concerned about your risk for oral cancer, contact us today for a screening. Don't wait until you notice the signs of oral cancer before you visit with your dentist.