Dentists play a vital role in your complete healthcare, not just cleaning, treating and correcting problems with your teeth. Oral cancers are life threatening diseases so early detection and treatment is extremely important. Studies show that early intervention improves the likelihood of treatments being successful. The prevalence of this disease is a very good reason to have regular oral check-ups and examinations as an important part of your routine healthcare.
In this article, Dr. Kelli Slate gives some brief facts about oral cancer, along with several of the signs and symptoms.
How prevalent is oral cancer?
- Each year an estimated 39,000 Americans contract oral cancer.
- Around 8,000 people die of these cancers annually.
- Approximately 1% of all adults will be diagnosed with oral cancer within their lifetime.
- Men suffer from oral cancer nearly twice as often as women.
- The average age at diagnosis is around 62 years old. Those who have contracted HPV infection (Human Papillomavirus) have a significantly higher risk at a younger age.
Oral cancer: risk factors:
- A major risk is associated with smoking, especially when combined with heavy alcohol consumption.
- Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is thought to reduce your risk.
- Often associated with those who have contracted the HPV infection.
- The risk increases with age.
- Too much exposure to the sun or artificial tanning UV lights increase the risk of lip cancer.
Signs & symptoms:
If these signs and symptoms continue for 14 days or more, consult your dentist immediately:
- White or red patches in the mouth.
- Lumpiness or swelling in the mouth.
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw.
- Feeling that something is caught in your throat, soreness, or hoarseness producing a change in your voice.
The early diagnosis of oral cancer greatly increases the success rate of treatment. We always recommend you keep up with your regular dental examinations. Please contact Dr. Kelli Slate to make an appointment for your dental check-up.