Oral cancers include cancers of the lips, tongue, jaw, cheeks, upper and lower mouth tissue and throat. While not as often mentioned in the media, oral cancers are as common as Leukemia, and claim more lives than skin cancer. Until the last decade, the highest risk demographic for oral cancers were men aged 40 and up. Recently, the incidence of oral cancer in younger people both male and female has been on the rise. This can likely be attributed to lifestyle changes (including increased population of female tobacco users) and a link to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:
During its early stages, oral cancers can include changes in tissue colour, the appearance of small canker-like soars or bites on the inside of the cheek, and are often painless. There are actually many benign (harmless) conditions that may appear similar to cancerous symptoms. That is why it is important to locate and examine abnormalities on the chance that they could be early warning signs of something serious.
Oral Cancer Screening:
As with most cancers, early detection and treatment improve the recovery and survival rates of those affected. If symptoms are discovered and treated early, oral cancer survival rates can be as high as 90%. Unfortunately, a contributing factor to the mortality rate of oral cancers is that it is often undetected until its late stages. An integral part of your dental exam at our office includes an oral cancer screening.
During this portion of your dental exam, we will review your dental X-rays as well as look for any visible abnormalities in your mouth, including lesions, bleeding and discolouration. We will also feel for lumps or masses in your neck and around your mouth, cheek, tongue and soft tissue.
You should call us for an additional examination if you notice:
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