Every year, approximately 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, a largely preventable form of cancer affecting the mouth and/or part of the throat. Many oral cancers are related to alcohol use, the use of tobacco products, or both. Drinking alcohol only in moderation and avoiding all tobacco products can help reduce your risk of developing this serious disease.
Early detection of oral cancer is very important as oral cancer can spread quickly if it is not treated. It is very important to communicate with your Physician or Dentist if you notice continued changes in your mouth or throat. A thorough oral cancer exam performed by a qualified Dentist can identify the early signs of oral cancer.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining inside the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
If you experience any of these warning signs, you should notify your Physician or your Dentist immediately.
Facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason can be a warning sign of oral cancer, however, it is important to note that pain does not always occur with pathology, and is often not associated with oral cancer. Many Dentists perform an Oral Cancer screening as part of your regular dental exams. You may also request an oral cancer screening from you Dentist or Physician.
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