While oral cancer is not as common as other types of cancer, it can be much more serious. Although the five-year survival rate of oral cancer is approximately 66%, about 10,126 people in the U.S. died from cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx.
As with most types of cancer, the survival rate goes up if an early diagnosis is made. That being so, this article is focused on bringing more awareness about the early signs of oral cancer and how to know if you need to make an appointment with a local dentist.
Understanding the Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can develop in various locations of the mouth, including the tongue, inside of the cheeks, salivary glands, roof of the mouth, and lips. Therefore, the following signs should always be taken seriously:
- Sore or lump. Any sore, lump, white or red patch in the mouth or throat can be a symptom of oral cancer.
- History of cold sores. People with a history of developing cold sores are at greater risk of developing oral cancer.
- Numbness. If any part of your mouth feels numb, you should be concerned.
- Lesions. This includes any type of cut, canker sore that won’t heal quickly.
- Painful tongue. Although this is not a common sign, you should still pay attention if it happens.
- Loose teeth. This is another less common symptom that people should be aware of.
- Hoarse voice. If you suddenly develop a hoarse voice that doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of something more serious – oral cancer.
As mentioned earlier, being able to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer means you’ll be motivated to seek treatment earlier. An early diagnosis has saved many lives, and if you have recently developed oral cancer, it can save yours too.
Another thing to keep in mind is that oral cancer typically develops in adults over the age of 40. However, it can also develop in younger people, so these symptoms should not be ignored if the patient is young.
What’s the Connection Between Oral Cancer and Your Dentist?
Did you know visiting your local dentist regularly can help you get an early diagnosis of oral cancer? You may have heard that it’s important to see your local dentist at least twice a year. It’s not only about getting your teeth cleaned professionally and maintaining your oral hygiene.
Contact Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry for Oral Cancer Screening
Your dentist will also take the time to check for signs of cancer. So, while it’s important to keep these early signs of oral cancer in mind, be sure to call Sninski and Schmitt Family Dentistry for any concerns. Luckily, we have two convenient locations. You can reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203. Or, you can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.