Spotting the Early Warning Signs of Mouth Cancer

Did you know that cancers of the mouth—oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer—cause more deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer, or skin melanoma? Unfortunately, most mouth cancers are not detected until late in their development. And of those diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers, a staggering 40 percent will not survive longer than five years. However, if caught in its early stages, the chances of survival are nearly nine out of ten. This is why early detection is so important.

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month—an awareness campaign that promotes the message, “If in doubt, get checked out.” In honor of this month, Dr. Eichenlaub is breaking down everything you need to know about mouth cancer, risk factors, symptoms, and screenings.

Are you at an increased risk?

In general, those who drink and smoke are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer. Although tobacco use is considered the main cause of mouth cancer, heavy drinking also increases that risk by four times. Mouth cancer is twice as common among men, and people over the age of 40 are more likely to be diagnosed.

However, no one is immune from this disease. In fact, the rates of mouth cancer are rapidly increasing among younger, non-smoking populations as a result of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Early warning signs of mouth cancer

Be on the lookout for these early indicators. If these symptoms persist for two to three weeks, you should schedule an appointment to see our dentists.

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness
  • Lumps, thickening tissue, or rough spots in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Mouth ulcers that do not heal
  • Painless lumps or swelling in the neck
  • Sore throat or pain when swallowing

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call our office.  Our dentists will be happy to perform an oral cancer examination. During this exam, we will visually and physically assess your lips, gums, tongue, the floor of your mouth, inside your cheeks, and throat for abnormalities that may indicate oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Cancer screenings are routine, simple, and quick—but they can save your life. Be open about any questions or concerns you have during your exam. And, if you have noticed areas in your mouth that haven’t healed, alert your clinician during your screening.

Ready for your next appointment? Dr. Eichenlaub is now accepting new patients! Call us today at 614-888-2563 to book your exam and screening. Remember: Early detection leads to better outcomes. It is one of the best ways to increase your chances of living a long, healthy, and happy life.

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