Oral cancer occurs in approximately 30,000 Americans each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
There are many different factors that can raise your risk of developing oral cancer, especially tobacco and alcohol use. More than 95 percent of all oral cancers are found in people older than the age of 45, but it can occur at any age. It has been on the rise with the recent discovery of the link between HPV and oral cancer.
If oral cancer is found early enough, it can be treated effectively. For this reason, it is very important to keep an eye out for early symptoms.
There are different things to look for when checking for signs of oral cancer. First off, it is a great idea to do a monthly exam on yourself at home. When completing these exams you need to check for these possible warning signs:
- A sore that does not heal and seems to bleed easily
- An unfamiliar lump or bump that seems to be stuck in place and is nontender to the touch
- A color change on your gums that can be white or red and possibly rough.
Please be aware that these can be symptoms of other conditions, therefore they need to be properly evaluated. It is very important that you visit your trusted dentist if you have any of these conditions for a second opinion.
Remember to do your monthly at home exams and to always visit your dentist on a regular basis, because early detection is important.
A regular visit to the dentist is the best way to a long lasting healthy smile.
By Reza Abedi, DDS, and Dania Weiss, RDH
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