Oral cancer typically presents as a sore, lump, or red/white patch on the inside of the mouth. Symptoms also may include:
- Persistent pain in the mouth
- Ear pain without infection
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Frequent coughing
- Enlarged lymph nodes
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to an ulcer, sore, or lump on the inside of the mouth, it is very important to speak with a dentist right away. When caught early on, oral cancer responds well to treatment. Untreated, oral cancer is fatal.
A Lifestyle Disease
Oral cancer is considered a “lifestyle disease” because it is primarily caused by tobacco and alcohol use. People who use tobacco daily are at 10x higher risk for oral cancer. People who drink frequently may see risks increase four to six times over. According to cancer.gov, people who smoke and drink are 100% more likely to develop oral cancers than those who do not.
Is it possible to develop oral cancer if you do not drink or smoke? Yes.
Is it likely? No.
It’s still important to undergo screenings when you come in for routine cleanings.
During your biannual office visits, we carefully inspect the tongue, cheeks, and lips for signs of cancer. If we believe cancer is developing, we can refer you to an oncologist for a biopsy. Early detection is essential for surviving this disease.
Around 54,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer in the U.S. every year. Of these, around 10,000 will not survive the year, and only slightly over half will live longer than five years after their diagnosis. When caught in its earliest stages, oral cancer responds well to treatment and can often be beaten.
Has it Been Longer Than Six Months?
Has it been longer than six months since your last cleaning and examination? April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to get in touch to schedule your next visit. Give us a call at 201-792-9400 to schedule an appointment today.
The Practice at Maxwell Place is located in Hoboken. We welcome patients from all nearby areas of New Jersey.