According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 48,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, causing more than 9,575 deaths. The 5-year survival rate of oral cancer is approximately 60 percent.
As with virtually every form of cancer, early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, which is why testing and screening methods are constantly evolving.
Oral Cancer Screening is Critical to Successful Treatment
Regular visits to your dentist, especially if you are at risk for oral cancer, can lead to early diagnosis and successful treatment, because your dentist should routinely check for evidence of mouth cancer.
Risk factors for Oral Cancer
Far and away, the greatest risk factor in the development of oral cancer is the use of tobacco and alcohol, though the numbers are beginning to decline, likely to the reduced use of tobacco products in Western Countries; though the numbers continue to increase worldwide, at 15 times the number of cases annually, where smoking is more socially acceptable. Age and gender too play a role in the incidence of mouth cancer, as the majority of people diagnosed with the disease are more than 40 years old, with fully twice as many men being diagnosed than women, a 2:1 ratio.
- Tobacco use of any kind, including: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
Oral cancer may develop in any area of your mouth or throat. Commonly, oral cancer will begin in your tongue and in the floor of your mouth. Virtually anyone can develop cancer of the mouth but, as mentioned above your risk is greater if you are a man over the age of 40, you use tobacco or alcohol, or if you have a history of head or neck cancer.
The symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white patches anywhere in your mouth
- A sore in your mouth that will not heal
- Bleeding in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pain, or other problems when swallowing
- A lump in your neck
- Chronic earache
Oral cancer treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Some patients may need a combination of these treatments. If you fear you may be at risk for oral cancer or have noticed any of the symptoms listed above, a visit to your dentist is critical to general health.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems, including total tooth replacement. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.