Oral cancer occurs in adults over the age of 40 and occurs in men twice as often as women.
Tobacco use causes the majority of oral cancers - 75 percent of those diagnosed use tobacco. The use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and dipping snuff are all linked to oral cancer. Not surprisingly, heavy smokers who have used tobacco over an extended period of time, or those who smoke and drink excessive amounts of alcohol, are at the highest risk.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
· A mouth sore that bleeds easily and doesn't heal
· Patches inside the mouth or on lips that are white, red or a combination of both
· Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
· Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice (especially slurred speech)
· Bleeding in your mouth not related to gingivitis
· Difficulty or pain when swallowing
· Difficulty wearing dentures
· A lump in your neck
· Ear pain
· Dramatic weight loss
If you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact your dentist immediately.
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist should conduct an oral cancer screening. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist should look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above.
If necessary, your dentist can perform a painless and quick "brush biopsy" screening test. After using a special brush to get tissue specimens from your mouth, computer analysis can determine the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells.
Early detection can greatly improve chances for a successful treatment. Remember to schedule periodic exams at least twice per year with your dentist.
Dr. Sharon Robinson, DDS may be reached at 954-792-1857. The Dental Place is located at 6738 W Sunrise Blvd, #105, Plantation, Fl. 33313. You may also visit her website at www.dentalplace4u.com