According to a study published by the National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research or NIDCR, in the United States, more than half of those diagnosed with oral cancer survive after five years.
When the condition is caught early enough, the chances of a successful and effective treatment plan are much higher. That is why it is important to know the warning signs so that you can bring it to your dentist’s attention as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancers
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth. This includes your lips, tongue and throat, but can also affect your salivary glands, pharynx, larynx or your sinuses. Be sure to check for the following symptoms and make sure to bring it to your dentist’s attention if any of them last longer than 2 weeks.
· Lumps, swelling, sores or any thick patches in or around your mouth.
· The feeling of having something stuck in your throat that you can’t swallow.
· White or red lesions inside your mouth or on your lips.
· Swelling that makes wearing a retainer, mouth guard or dentures uncomfortable.
· Numbness, tenderness or pain anywhere inside your mouth.
· Pain inside your ear without it affecting your hearing.
· Trouble moving your jaw or pain while chewing, swallowing or speaking.
· Loose teeth.
· A sore throat that lingers or constant hoarseness.
Causes of Oral Cancer
There is no exact cause for mouth cancers, however, there are certain lifestyle factors that can you put you at a higher risk. The use of tobacco, whether it is cigarettes, cigars or smokeless tobacco vastly increase your risk of cancer.
The Mouth Cancer Foundation has reported that nearly 90% of patients with oral cancer consume tobacco products. There have also been indications that heavy alcohol use can lead to the disease and when using both alcohol and tobacco, you put yourself at an even higher risk.
Age and eating habits are also a factor that can contribute to oral cancer. Most cases of oral cancers occur in people over the age of 40 and it is believed that a diet that lacks fruits and vegetables can also increase your risk.
More recently, there has been an increase in oral cancers that are associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you have any questions for Dr. Antenucci, your Bay Shore, NY general dentist, please call our office at 631-665-8484.