We also shared Risk Factors, Stunning Oral Cancer Statistics, and Early Warning Signs, including:
- 85% of all oral cancers are linked to tobacco use
- 40% of cancer could be avoided with lifestyle changes
- Statistically speaking, little more than half of the 49,750 who will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year will be alive in 5 years (about 57%)
What makes oral cancer unique is that it often grows in relatively plain sight, compared to other cancers. As we mentioned in January’s blog post, “Oral Cancer is a Killer: Early Detection Saves Lives,” dental professionals are often the very first to spot oral cancer because they have been specially trained to identify suspicious lesions. In January, we also shared some information about how oral cancers are staged and treated, and pointed out that early (stage one) oral cancer is the least difficult to treat and has the highest rate of survival.
And way back in July 2016, in “Your Dentist Does More than Just Clean Your Teeth: Oral Cancer,” we wrote about the importance of twice-yearly dental checkups, and described some of the advanced tests your dentist may order, should anything suspicious be found during your oral cancer screening. Think about the statistics for early detection, and that you may only be checked for oral cancer 2 times per year. For that reason alone, it’s vital to make sure you schedule those twice-yearly dental checkups!
Here at Marion Smile Center, our team members take pride in treating our patients as we would treat our own families. We understand how busy our patients are, because many of us also wear more than one hat. We also understand how easy it can be to postpone non-urgent dental appointments, and how difficult it can be at times to get our loved ones to follow through with those appointments. So, at the risk of being redundant, we thought we’d provide this helpful post, for anyone who may need another gentle reminder that routine screenings, when overdue, deserve to go to the top of the list. Please feel free to share this post with your friends and loved ones who may also need a reminder.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use (85% of all oral cancers are linked to tobacco use)
- Frequent alcohol use
- Fair skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- Gender (males are more likely to develop oral cancer than females)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Excessive, or prolonged sun exposure
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Marijuana use
- Procrastination / Not scheduling twice-yearly dental checkups
Early warning signs you shouldn’t ignore:
- Thickening skin or a lump on the inside of your mouth cavity
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- Numbness in your face, neck, or mouth
- The feeling that something is caught in your throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Loose teeth
- A persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Ear pain
- A bad taste in your mouth or persistent bad breath
Treatment for oral cancer may involve a mix of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, depending on the stage at diagnosis. Treatments are most effective when the cancer is detected early.
Dr. Mark A. Marion has been selected as one of America’s Best Dentists by the International Association of Dentists. Dr. Marion and our staff at Marion Smile Center invite you to come see what unmatched dental care can do for you.
If you or a loved one have any of these symptoms, or if you would like to find out more about oral cancer or any other dental health topic, please call (724) 452-4300or schedule an appointment online today.