If oral cancer is not on your radar, these statistics may help you reconsider. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 48,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,575 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. These statistics are staggering. However, you should know that if oral cancer is detected and treated early, the cure rate is exceedingly higher.
Learning the symptoms of oral cancer can help you identify an area of concern at home. However, since many cases of early oral cancer produce little or no symptoms, visiting your dentist for a professional oral cancer screening is vitally important.
At Rivers + Tanner Family Dentistry, we conduct oral cancer screenings during your routine dental checkups. It is a simple and painless process that could save your life. Modern technology has improved the way dentists detect oral cancer and it allows the disease to be identified at its earliest possible stage. You’ll also be educated on your personal risk for oral cancer, including family history and certain lifestyle habits like using tobacco products. Exposure to the HPV-16 virus has also become a significant factor in the current increase in oral cancer.
It is important that all patients, regardless of their level of risk, know the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so they can recognize a potential concern at home. Common symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
- Persistent hoarseness
- Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
- Difficulty swallowing
If you notice a lump or have a mouth sore that has persisted for two weeks or more, please let us know as soon as possible. We are happy to answer your questions about oral cancer so that you can do your part in preventing the disease and catching it at its earliest, most treatable stage. At our Mt. Pleasant dental office, we are dedicated to improving your oral health, well-being and overall quality of life.