Cancer is a diagnosis that no one wants to receive. Oral cancer accounts for roughly two percent of all cancers diagnosed annually in the United States. While this is a small percentage of all cancer related diagnoses, almost forty percent of oral cancer diagnoses will result in death. This is a high percentage rate, and oral cancer cannot be ignored or left without proper attention.
As with almost all types of conditions and diseases, early detection provides the best opportunity for successful treatment. Oral cancer is often first detected by a dentist, which is yet another reason that making regular dental visits a priority is so important. At every appointment, your mouth is thoroughly examined for any signs of concern – including any signs of oral cancer. Your dentist knows exactly what to look for and specific questions to ask in order to determine whether or not you are at risk and/or whether or not you need further evaluation.
Tissue changes in the mouth are typically the most common indicators that oral cancer is active within the mouth. These changes are typically noticeable to patients, and if you notice them they should never be ignored. Warning signs of oral cancer include:
- White lesions on the inside of the mouth, known as leukoplakia
- Red lesions on the inside of the mouth, known as erythroplakia
- A lump inside the mouth
- Thickening in the oral soft tissues of the mouth
- Soreness of the throat
- A feeling that something is caught inside the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Ear pain
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw
At Group Health Dental, we take your oral health seriously. If you notice any unusual changes inside your mouth between dental visits, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here for all of your oral health care needs.