According to the American Cancer Society, more than 28,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually, with more than 7,000 of these cases resulting in death. Many people are surprised to learn that each year one person dies every hour from oral cancer, making this type of cancer deadlier than cervical, brain, ovarian or skin cancer. Recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society estimate that while the incidence of death rates for cancers overall has decreased, new cases of oral cancer are increasing. Since oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when detected early, it is extremely important to see your dentist in Lincoln Park, IL regularly in order to observe any changes.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The majority of patients with oral cancer commonly experience swelling and lumps inside their mouth or on the lips and gums. These may also appear as crusts, eroded patches and rough spots. Bleeding may occur for no reason, and red or white patches in your mouth may develop.
Frequently, a loss of sensitivity is experienced in your mouth, face or neck and sores appear in similar areas as well. The sores bleed often and remain present for an extended period of time. Oral cancer may often begin with an asymptomatic stage during which symptoms may not be obvious and is often painless initially making it difficult to detect.
Signs of Oral Cancer May Include:
* Difficulty swallowing or chewing
* Numbness of the tongue
* Ear pain
* Difficulty when moving the tongue or jaw
* A lump or thickening of the soft tissues in the mouth
These signs do not necessarily signify cancer; they may be associated with early signs of cancer. Since oral cancer treatment is usually successful when performed in the early stages, any abnormal change in the mouth, gums, tongue or surrounding area should be evaluated by a dental professional immediately.
Prevention and Screening
Prevention is the key to fighting off oral cancer, as most oral cancer is preventable. Approximately 75% of oral cancers are related to the use of tobacco and alcohol. In order to decrease your risk, you should avoid the use of any tobacco products, minimize the amount of alcohol you consume, use SPF lip balm to protect from sun exposure, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Your dentist in Lincoln Park at Sheffield Square Dental Care has recently incorporated the VELscope system into their dental practice. VELscope is a handheld device that aids in the early detection of oral cancer. This is a non-invasive, painless procedure which only takes a few minutes. The fluorescent light shone by the VELscope helps the dentist visualize abnormal tissue which may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.
It is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is the greatest. Your dentist in Lakeview has the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. You and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. Know the early signs and visit your dentist in Lincoln Park regularly.