Patients who visit our dentist office in Modesto, CA, appreciate the personal care provided by our staff.
This affects everything we do at our office. When you come to Sierra Dental Care for a routine cleaning, we don’t want you to feel like you are just another number. You have the attention of everyone who works with you.
It’s because we want all our patients to be as healthy as possible. It’s also why we include an oral cancer screening during our routine dental cleanings and exams.
We don’t want to scare anyone, but we also know how valuable early detection can be in treating oral cancer.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. So, we are using this post to share the symptoms of oral cancer that you need to know. We also want to discuss three of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
Signs Of Possible Oral Cancer
Before we list some common symptoms of oral cancer, we want you to consider this. The five-year survival rate for people whose oral cancer is identified early is 83 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health. That rate is 28 percent for patients who cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.
Learning the symptoms can help you know whether you should schedule an appointment with your physician. These symptoms may not mean you have oral cancer, but as the statistics above show, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Signs that you may have oral cancer:
▸ Swelling, lumps, or eroded areas on your lips, gums, and soft tissues inside your mouth
▸ White, red, or speckled patches in your mouth
▸ Bleeding or numbness in your mouth that you can’t explain
▸ Unexplained numbness in your face, mouth, or neck
▸ Sores in the mouth or on the face, mouth, or neck that do not heal within two weeks
▸ A persistent feeling like something is caught in your throat
▸ Trouble chewing or swallowing
▸ Trouble moving your jaw and/or tongue
▸ Persistent or recurring ear pain
▸ Persistent feeling of hoarseness or a sore throat
▸ Sudden weight loss
If you notice any of these changes, please contact your doctor.
Risk Factors For Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can affect anyone, and some cases do not have obvious causes. Nevertheless, researchers have identified some key risk factors that can increase your chances of developing this disease.
◼︎ Tobacco Use
Among people 50 and other who develop oral cancer, 75 percent have been tobacco users, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
And any kind of tobacco use will increase your odds of developing oral cancer. Smokers and smokeless tobacco users both are more likely to have oral cancer than non-tobacco users.
Research on vaping and e-cigarettes is still fairly early, but there is some initial research that suggests using them also can increase your risk of oral cancer.
◼︎ Alcohol Use
To be more specific, research has shown that men who consume more than 21 alcoholic drinks per week and women who consume more than 14 drinks weekly are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
However, a bigger concern is among people who both use tobacco and alcohol. Using both raises your risk of developing oral cancer by 15 times, the Oral Cancer Foundation reported.
◼︎ Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Health experts estimate that 8 in 10 people will contract HPV at some point in their lives. For most people, this has little or no effect on their health.
But for 1 percent of people, HPV can lead to oral and other cancers.
This also is why health officials encourage parents to have their children vaccinated against HPV around age 11 or 12.
◼︎ Sun Exposure
If there is good news, it’s that the number of lip cancer diagnoses associated with sun exposure is declining. Health officials believe this may be related to increased awareness of the risks of skin cancer, which has made people more cautious when spending time outdoors.
We Hope To See You Soon And For Decades To Come
At Sierra Dental Care, we want each patient to receive the attention that he or she deserves. We also want to continue seeing you for years and years to come.
That’s why we will continue looking for possible signs of oral cancer while we are looking for symptoms of tooth decay and gum disease.
It’s why we hope you will make an appointment soon at our dentist office in Modesto, CA. Just fill out our online form or call 209-846-3961.