Mouth cancer can affect anyone, anytime, but in the past the most common occurrences were in people over forty, and typically, men. But studies have shown an increase in women and younger people as well. This cancer can occur in the mouth; including the gums, the palate, on the tongue, lips, or throat.
Oral cavity cancer is an easily curable cancer if spotted early on. This may involve surgery, radiation, and sometimes chemotherapy. If left untreated it can be deadly, even more so than cervical or skin cancer. Most cases are diagnosed by dentists than doctors, which is another reason to see your dentist every year.
What are the causes of this disease? Smoking tobacco and alcohol seem to be the biggest culprits, which means if you do both you are at higher risk. Lip cancer is typically caused by overexposure to the sun. HPV-human papillomavirus is the main cause of cervical cancer and is on the rise in mouth cancer. Poor dental hygiene and poor diet can also contribute to oral cancer.
Signs to look for:
A sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away
A pain in your mouth that lingers
A lump or thickened area in the cheek
A white or red patch on the gums, lining of the mouth, tongue, or tonsil
A sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in the throat that doesn’t go away
Having a hard time swallowing or chewing
Having a hard time moving your jaw or tongue
Unusual bleeding in the mouth
Numbness of the tongue or somewhere else in the mouth
Swelling in the jaw that makes your dentures hurt or fit poorly
Loosening of teeth
Pain in the teeth or jaw
Changes in your voice
A lump in the neck
Losing weight for no apparent reason
Bad breath that never gets better
Oral cancer, diagnosed early on, can be treated effectively. Keep your six month dental checkups and cleanings to make sure you are cancer-free! If you would like to schedule an appointment or ask questions, give our office a call at 218-829-4207.