Close to 2.9% of all the cancer cases diagnosed in the United States were oral cancer. An estimated 51,000 people are likely to develop oral cancer this year, of which 10,000 fatalities are also expected from the disease. This disease can occur anywhere within the orofacial complex. However, it is most commonly found in the tongue, the gums, lips, cheek lining, the tonsils, oropharynx, etc. Even though the disease affects anyone irrespective of gender, it is twice as likely to affect men than women. The men at most risk are those who smoke frequently and drink alcohol regularly, especially men above the age of 50. Even UV exposure can also result in oral cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
When you go for a comprehensive dental examination, the dentist will perform oral cancer screening. To begin with, the dentist will review the patient’s oral health and overall health. Then, they will carefully check the patient’s oral cavity and the head or neck area to determine whether any signs indicate the possibility of oral cancer in the patient.
Some of the signs and symptoms include;
- Mouth Ulcers
- Sores that do not heal
- Red Patches
- White Patches
- Constant swelling from unknown origin
- Persistent pain while swallowing
- Pain in the tongue
- Ear or Neck Ache
- A feeling of something being stuck in the throat
- Tenderness in the mouth or lips
- Numbness in the mouth or lips
- A loose tooth
- Stiffness in the jaw
- Jaw pain
The dentist will refer the patient for a detailed assessment if they identify a suspicious lesion, abnormality in the tissue, or any other unusual symptoms. Favorable outcomes can be achieved if early detection of oral cancer can be performed.