The Facts about Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can affect all ages.

Oral cancer can affect all ages.

This year, over 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. More than 8,000 deaths will occur as a result of this type of cancer. That’s about a person an hour, every hour of every day. Those are alarming statistics. St. Charles MO dentist Dr. Jeffrey Smith wants you to know the facts about oral cancer – the signs, the risk factors, and what you can do to prevent it.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Oral cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks, throat, floor of the mouth, top of the mouth, and sinuses. Here’s what to look for:

  • White, red, or white and red speckled patches of tissue
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Sores that don’t heal after a couple of weeks
  • A change in your voice
  • The feeling that something is constantly stuck in your throat
  • Lumps or areas of thickened tissue
  • Crusty areas
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Unexplained pain or numbness in or near the mouth

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Smoking (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes)
  • Smokeless tobacco use
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially exposure that occurred when you were a child
  • Heredity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

What You Can Do

  • Stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Avoid sun exposure and use sunblock on the face and lips when outside.
  • Be aware of any of the signs of oral cancer and do a self-check once a month, looking at all of the tissues in your mouth and feeling along the face and jaw for lumps.
  • Visit your St. Charles MO dentist regularly for checkups. Dr. Smith performs an oral cancer screening at all new patient exams and six-month checkups. Tell the doctor about any changes in the way your mouth/throat looks or feels.

Early Detection is Key

Identifying and treating oral cancer in the early stage can greatly improve survival chances. Be proactive. Call us today.