SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER
There are several things to look for so performing a monthly self-check can mean an earlier diagnosis with
a better outcome. Using a bright light and mirror, be sure to remove any dentures. Look and feel inside
your lips and the front of your gums. Tilt back your head and inspect and feel the roof of your mouth. Pull
your cheek out to see the inside surface and the back of your gums. Pull out your tongue and look at all of
the surfaces. Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (or glands) in both sides of your neck, including your
lower jaw. This is the best way to check for oral cancer at home.
Look for –
White patches (called leukoplakia)
Red patches (erythroplakia)
A sore or sores that fail to heal and bleed easily
Abnormal lumps or thickening of the tissues
A chronic sore throat or hoarseness
Difficulty chewing or swallowing
A mass or lump in the neck
If you notice any of these things, don’t panic, but be sure to make an appointment with your general
dentist, an oral surgeon or maxillofacial surgeon at the earliest opportunity. Early treatment is the key to a
HOW CAN I AVOID ORAL CANCER?
Doing your best to follow the tips below can go a long way in helping to avoid oral cancer.
Brush and floss your teeth regularly
Do not smoke (or chew) any type of tobacco product
Drink alcohol in moderation (one to two drinks per day)
Limit your exposure to the sun. Use sunblock every day, including on your lips
Exercise regularly. An active lifestyle is known to boost the immune system and help ward off cancer
Choose cancer-fighting foods in your diet
How you prepare those foods is also important in the prevention of cancer. Replace frying and grilling with baking, boiling or steaming
See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly (at least every six months) and ask for an oral cancer screening to be done
There are some pretty alarming statistics associated with oral cancer. One person dies every hour of every
day of the year from oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat). Only sixty percent
of newly diagnosed people will live longer than five years. Many of those who survive deal with long-term
problems like severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and or talking. Men are twice as likely to get
oral cancer as women. The survival rate is low because it is typically diagnosed later in its development.
So while this is some pretty disturbing info, the flip side to this is that when caught early, oral cancer is
WHAT ARE RISK FACTORS FOR ORAL CANCER?
TOBACCO – Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, snuff, chew and smokeless tobacco
ALCOHOL – especially when combined with tobacco
EXPOSURE to HPV – the sexually-transmitted, Human Papillomavirus (HPV16)
OTHER RISKS include physical trauma, infectious disease, poor oral hygiene and poor nutrition
THE HEALTH OF YOUR MOUTH IS THE KEY TO YOUR OVERALL HEALTH!
We already know that our mouths are the gateway to our bodies so a healthy mouth leads to a healthy
body. Be aware of any changes in your mouth, especially if you have any of the risk factors associated with
oral cancer. At the earliest sign of change, make an appointment to see your dentist, or an oral surgeon.
Early detection is your best friend. Your health matters to us. If you have any questions concerning this
post, call us at (248) 357-3100 today.
We’re always happy to hear from our awesome patients!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding
medical conditions.Remember Stay Happy, Stay Healthy, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!