Oral cancer is a common form of cancer, with roughly 35,000 new cases reported yearly in the United States. If not diagnosed and treated in early stages, oral cancer can spread leading to chronic pain, loss of oral function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. It is important to visit your dentist so he or she can preform thorough screening for oral cancer.
Screening should be a regular part of your dental exam. The dentist will check for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks, and oral cavity.
The cause of the cancer’s is unknown. Habits with the use of alcohol and tobacco products have been found to increase the risk of developing oral cancer. The more recent research has indications that cancer may be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you have any sores that persist longer than 2 weeks, a swelling, growth, or lump anywhere in or around the mouth or neck, white or red patches in the mouth or lips you should see your dentist immediately. Any abnormalities are better checked than left. Always err on the side of precaution.
You can help prevent oral cancer by abstaining from all forms of tobacco usage and excessive alcohol consumption. Making sure you are screen at all your regular re-care appointments will help to catch the lesion at an early stage and make treatment much less invasive and survival rates increase with early detection. In a later blog I will reviewed some of the oral tests used in offices to aid the early detection.