According to the American Dental Association, nearly 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. The prognosis of those cases is not stellar: the five-year survival rate hovers slightly above 64 percent.
The good news is that if oral cancer is detected through a screening in its early stages, it may be easier to treat. Screening tests are helpful in finding cancer early and decreasing the risk of dying from the cancer. Champagne Smiles considers cancer screenings an integral part of protecting your oral and overall health.
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health cautions that just because your dentist suggests you undergo a screening does not necessarily mean that he believes you have cancer. “Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms,” according to the organization.
Oral cancer cells can develop in the lips, oral cavity and the oropharynx. The oral cavity includes the roof of the mouth, the lining of the inside of the cheeks, the floor of the mouth under the tongue and the area behind the wisdom teeth. The oropharynx includes the back of the tongue, the back of the roof of the mouth, the side and back walls of the throat and the tonsils.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
The good news is that cases of oral cancer have been slowly decreasing over the past 30 years. However, the following factors still increase the risk of developing oral cancer:
- Using tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco)
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Chewing betel nuts
- Sun exposure (lip cancer)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
The risk of oral cancer greatly increases after age 44. Also, men are twice as likely as women are to develop oral and pharyngeal cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of mouth or throat cancer may include:
- Red or white patches
- Pain/tenderness/numbness in the mouth or lips
- Rough spot or crust
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Trouble moving the tongue or jaw
- Change in the way the teeth fit together when the mouth is closed
Please note that there may be no symptoms in the early stages of oral cancer. Therefore, a screening by a qualified professional is critical to detection.
Contact Champagne Smiles
To schedule a check-up and oral cancer screening, please call the Champagne Smiles team at 888-788-8615 or send us an email.