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Oral Cancer... Catch it Early.

Watch Your Mouth!
Posted on 12/13/2017

Oral Cancer is a disease that can sneak up on you. While the number of people diagnosed with oral cancer has increased over the past decade, the survival rate is high if caught early. Oral cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, or even habits, as 40 percent of those diagnosed with the disease are young, non-smokers.

While the survival rate is high if caught early, nearly 70 percent of cases are found in late stages. One of the best ways to catch this disease is by going through a thorough oral cancer screening as part of your routine dental examination at The Dental Touch.

During the test, we will visually examine your lips, tongue and the inside of your mouth, and check for red or white patches or unusual sores. We will inspect your mouth for lumps and swellings, and gently pull the tongue aside to get an even better view. We may also use a special light, dye, or other procedure to help us check any suspect areas. If we find anything out of the ordinary, a biopsy can be easily performed.

If you notice abnormal sores or color changes in the tissue of your mouth, lips and tongue, they may be a symptom of oral cancer — most, however, are completely benign. But sores or other unusual changes that haven't gone away by themselves after 2-3 weeks should be examined in our office. Remember, the only way to accurately diagnose oral cancer is through a laboratory report. Early diagnosis, aided by thorough screenings at your regular dental checkups, is one of the best defenses against oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Facts:

  • 69% of cases are found in late stages
  • 40% are young, non-smokers
  • Oral Cancer has increased over the past 7 years. All other cancers have decreased.
  • Once visible, the cancer is already in stage 3 or 4.
  • Survival rate is 80% if caught early.
  • More than 45,000 Americans are diagnosed with Oral Cancer every year.

Some of the most common oral cancer symptoms and signs include:

  • Persistent mouth sore: A sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer
  • Pain: Persistent mouth pain is another common oral cancer sign
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
  • Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Pain in the teeth or jaw
  • Voice changes
  • A lump in the neck
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent bad breath
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