Checking for Cancer in Your Mouth, Head, and Neck
Early detection is key in ensuring the successful treatment of oral cancer. The American Dental Association states that the 5-year survival rate for those diagnosed with oral cancer is approximately 60 percent.
Oral Cancer Screening Process
Possible Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The American Cancer Society has a list of possible signs of oral cancer. Note that these symptoms don’t mean that an individual has oral cancer. The majority of the time, mouth sores aren’t cancerous. You should still contact our dental office or their doctor when experiencing one or more of these symptoms.
- A sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal
- Pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away
- A lump or thickening in the lips, mouth, or cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in your throat that doesn’t go away
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Trouble moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue, lip, or other areas of the mouth
- Swelling or pain in the jaw
- Dentures that start to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
- Loosening of the teeth or pain around the teeth
- Voice changes
- A lump or mass in the neck or back of the throat
- Weight loss
- Pain in the ear
Pain-Free and Quick Screening
Oral Cancer Prevention and Risks
There are ways that you can maintain your oral health and reduce your oral cancer risk by making some lifestyle changes. Heavy use of alcohol or tobacco can increase your oral cancer risk. Excessive sun exposure can also encourage oral cancer formation on your lips. Some oral cancer cases are attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV).
Oral Cancer Treatment
If our dentist Dr. Murphy identifies anything suspicious that could be indicative of oral cancer, he will devise a treatment plan based on your symptoms.
This could mean coming back for a follow-up exam a few days later, or he may refer you out to an oral surgeon or another type of specialist for further testing and possible treatment.