Oral cancer is one we don’t often hear much about; however, did you know that it is responsible for one death in America every hour? That’s close to 10,000 people lost each year. What’s worse is that of the 50,000 people that will be diagnosed this year, only around half of those people will be alive in 5 years. These dismal numbers have not really improved over the years because many cases of oral cancer are detected in their later phases, leaving the patient with a poor prognosis. Your family dentist shares what you should know about oral cancer in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancers are referred to those that affect the head and neck region of the body. This excludes the brain, which has a cancer category of its own.
This can be a tricky disease to diagnose on your own because it often causes little pain in the early stages, and it also closely mimics benign oral issues such as canker sores and other lesions. This is why preventive checkups with your dentist are so important.
Oral cancer also has a high rate of reoccurrence, which means that patients who survive it the first time are twenty times more likely to develop it again.
While there aren’t many symptoms early on, it is important to be aware of changes you notice in your mouth such as:
- Pain when swallowing, talking, or chewing
- Numbness in your mouth, face, or neck
- Changes in the color of your soft tissues such as red or white patches
- A lump or mass in your mouth or neck
- A sore or lesion that doesn’t heal within 14 days
You can Prevent Oral Cancer
Consistent regular visits with your dentist at least twice per year are your best line of defense against oral cancer. Your dentist is able to detect oral cancer in its earliest stages, giving you the best chance of successfully treating it.
You are also your own best advocate, and if you notice any of these signs or symptoms it’s important to contact your dentist right away to schedule an examination.
Let’s put a stop to this deadly disease! Contact your dentist today to learn more and schedule your next examination.
About the Author
Dr. Sheri McIntosh and her team provide patients in Keller, TX with the Distinguished Patient Experience every time they visit. This is a patient-centered approach that offers patients the opportunity to receive an exceptional level of service and dental care, and allows them to experience dentistry in a whole new way.
If you would like to contact Dr. McIntosh, she can be reached by calling 817-337-8300 or through our website.