Oral Cancer: Facts, Symptoms, and Risks

open mouth

open mouthAccording to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 oral cancer diagnoses are expected this year. Tragically, this deadly type of cancer would also account for more than 8,000 fatalities in the country. Indeed, mouth cancer has increasingly been a hot issue for public health, and so it is critical to raise awareness about oral cancer and the risk associated with it.

Diagnosing Mouth Cancer

Mouth is among the many areas of the body that are prone to trauma, cuts, lesion, sore, or any other changes that might seem normal and unsuspecting. These seemingly innocent symptoms, however, may indicate precancerous transformation leading to oral cancer. Have your mouth lesion or patch tested for mouth cancer if:

• It does not heal for two weeks;
• You have difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving your tongue or jaw;
• You feel numb in your jaw, tongue, or other areas of the mouth;
• Your voice is hoarse;
• You feel that your inner cheeks are thick.

See a Dental Professional for a Prompt Oral Cancer Diagnosis

Oral professionals are equipped with the experience and the right tools to see if your mouth lesion indicates oral cancer or less serious mouth conditions. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms can simply visit a family dental office in South Bend right away for a prompt and accurate oral cancer diagnosis.

Am I at Risk?

Your risk of mouth cancer increases with these factors:

• Age – individuals above 40 years of age are considered at higher risk, although oral cancer has also been associated with individuals of younger age.
• An HPV or human papillomavirus infection.
• UV exposure of the lips.
• Too much alcohol consumption.
• Smoking.
• Chewing tobacco – studies suggest chewing tobacco, together with a mixture of areca nut, betel leaves, and lime powder may significantly increase the risk of mouth cancer.

You can reduce the risk of oral cancer by switching to a healthier lifestyle. You should also be aware of lesions and patches that do not go away immediately. They can be signs that you need to visit your dentist for an overall mouth checkup.