Oral cancer includes cancers of the tongue, lips, sinuses, cheeks, throat, and soft and hard palates, and it is a serious condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated before it becomes life threatening. Knowing what the symptoms are, and getting regular screenings, are important steps in preventing it.
Signs and Symptoms
Common signs of oral cancer include:
- Growth of velvety red, white, or speckled patches
- Unexplained pain or numbness in the neck, mouth, or face
- Bumps, swellings, or rough spots on the gums, lips, or inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding of areas in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Dramatic weight loss
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with a dentist in Brevard, NC right away.
As with many health conditions, certain factors increase the chances of getting oral cancer. Important risk factors include:
- Tobacco use- smokers have a six-fold chance of developing oral cancer
- Age- those over the age of 40 are at higher risk
- Heavy alcohol use – drinkers are six times more likely to develop cancer
- Prolonged sun exposure- excessive sun at a younger age increases the risk
- Gender- males are more susceptible than females
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)- certain strains increase chances of developing oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
Individuals who have at least one of these factors should definitely get regular screenings in order to maintain good health. However, people with none of the risk factors can be diagnosed with this type of cancer, so seeing your dentist to get screened should be a priority for everyone.
Schedule Your Screening
Because oral cancer can affect many different types of people, making an appointment with your dentist for a screening is important. At Water Oak Dental Group in Brevard, NC, conveniently located near Etowah, NC and Hendersonville, NC, dentists Dr. David S. Krishinger, Dr. Jeffrey T. Root and Dr. John Krishingner can make additional recommendations to prevent oral issues based on your individual situation.