Know the Early Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
It’s a startling statistic, but it’s estimated that over 43,000 Americans will receive a diagnosis of oral cancer this year. The disease, which kills over 8,000 people yearly, often starts out with barely noticeable symptoms. But there are signs you can look for, and there is a way your dentist can help you in the fight against this often deadly disease.
In Scottsbluff, a dental checkup at the office of Dr. Gary Cheloha includes an oral cancer screening. This quick, non-invasive exam could be a lifesaver. Your six-month checkups provide a great way for Dr. Cheloha to monitor the condition of your smile and identify suspicious tissue in the early stage. We also want you to know what to look for in between checkups. Here, Dr. Cheloha discusses the symptoms – and the causes – of oral cancer to help you reduce your risk of developing this life-altering disease.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, hard and soft palate, and cheeks. Cancerous lesion can also grow in the sinuses, the throat, and on the lips. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call our office:
- A patch of velvety textured white, red, or white and red speckled tissue in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Unexplained oral bleeding
- A thickened area of tissue in the mouth or on the lips or gums
- A change in your voice, such as hoarseness
- A change in the way your dentures fit
- Pain in your ears
- Sores in or around your mouth that don’t heal within a 2-week timeframe
- Numbness or pain around the face, neck, or mouth
- Rough, crusty patches on the lips or in the mouth
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Certain lifestyle habits can increase the risk of oral cancer. These include:
- Tobacco use in all forms, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products
- A family history of the disease
- Alcohol consumption in excess
- Lots of sun exposure, especially during your youth
You can’t change your genetic makeup, but you can reduce or eliminate many of the lifestyle habits that contribute to oral cancer. We can help.
Call Monument Smiles today to learn more about the early warning signs of oral cancer and to schedule a checkup and oral cancer screening. Knowledge is power, and we want you to be informed about the things that impact your oral and overall wellbeing.