Sadly I write to tell you that last month I diagnosed another patient with oral cancer. Early detection is the key to reducing the devastating impact of oral cancer.

Oral cancer screenings are an important part of your six-month dental hygiene appointment. You may not be able to see discoloration or a sore on your own which makes the six-month check up at our office or the dentist of your choice extremely important.

SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER INCLUDE:

  • Sore and discoloration within the oral cavity
  • Sores which bleed easily or do not heal
  • Thick or hard spot or lump
  • Roughened or crusted area
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
  • Problems chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Pain in one ear without hearing loss.

How I examine each patient during an oral cancer screening will be discussed in next week’s blog.

RISKS AND IMPORTANT FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ORAL CANCER

Tobacco , smokeless tobacco and excessive alcohol use are the primary lifestyle risk factors for oral cancer.

The risk of oral cancer increases with age. While most oral cancers occur after age 40, it is important to know that recent studies indicate that increasingly younger patients are diagnosed with oral cancer. One cause of this may be HPV infections.

27% of patients diagnosed with oral cancer have NOT used tobacco or alcohol.

Oral cancer occurs almost as frequently as leukemia.

The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly.

African American men are one of the groups at highest risk for oral cancer.

In our office we now offer a pamphlet written and distributed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in partnership with the National Institute of Health regarding the higher risk of oral cancer for African American men.

Chronic sun exposure will put you at an elevated risk of lip cancer, particularly on the lower lip. Use sunscreen products designed for the lips.

Our dental practice is committed to early detection of oral cancer in our community. We offer free cancer screening to anyone even if they are not a patient of record in our office. Call us any time to schedule a free cancer screening with me.