The word “cancer”… is at once scary, fear producing and something we don’t want to talk about.
It’s ok to be fearful. Most of us are when it comes to cancer.
“Going to the dentist”…additionally scary, fear producing words that can complicate matters surrounding the discovery of oral cancer.
Did you know?
- Approximately 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
- Just over half will be alive five years later.
- Oral cancer’s high death rate is primarily due to its late discovery.
- If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable.
- Twice yearly dental exams and cleanings are vitally important in the early detection, prevention and treatment of oral cancer.
What is it?
Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal cells on any part of the mouth, lips, tongue, or gums. It can also occur on the lining of the cheeks and the roof of the mouth. Most oral cancers begin in the lining of the mouth or lips, which is made up of thin squamous cells.
What causes it?
- Tobacco use, in all forms. Tobacco use accounts for 90% of all oral cancers
- Alcohol Use
- Marijuana use
- Exposure to UV light from the sun or the use of tanning beds
- Having some types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
What should I look for?
- Persistent pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere on your lips or in your mouth
- A change in your voice that isn’t due to a cold or allergies
- An earache that doesn’t go away.
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, talking or moving your jaw or tongue
- Feeling like something is caught in your throat
- Red or white spotty patches on your tongue or in your mouth
- A lump or thickening in your cheek or neck
- A thick, rough spot or a small area in your mouth that looks like it’s wearing away
- An irritation on your mouth or lip that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal
It is important to visit your dentist regularly…to prevent oral cancer or catch it early!
Call us at 973.328.1225 for a consultation. We look forward to meeting you!