Every year, over 30,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer. Sadly, one person dies of oral cancer in America every hour. However, if detected early, oral cancer is 90% survivable. At highest risk are adults over the age of 40 and tobacco users (including “smokeless” brands). Other risk factors are heavy alcohol use, viral infections, prolonged sun exposure (lip cancer) and a history of white or red patches on oral tissues. However, the American Dental Association reports that over 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors.
Symptoms of oral cancer include a mouth sore that does not heal, white or red patch of tissue, difficulty swallowing, a lump or mass in the mouth or neck, long period of hoarseness, pain or numbness in the oral region, change in the voice, or period of ear pain.
Because an oral examination and screening are incorporated as part of regular oral hygiene check-ups, the statistics of oral cancer are good reason to be committed to these visits and discuss any suspicious condition without delay. Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it is treated early. Please call us as soon as possible for an exam if you have any signs.