Every year, approximately 43,250 men and women in America will be diagnosed with oral cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. In fact, statistics show that oral cancer takes a life about once every hour, around the clock. Fortunately, early detection and treatment can substantially improve a patient’s chances of surviving the disease. That is why Dr. Hume and his team emphasize the importance of oral cancer screening – not only in April, but all year round.
Risk Factors & Symptoms of Oral Cancer
It is important to understand your risk for oral cancer as well as what to look for when examining the soft tissues of your mouth. The following is a list of some of the most common risk factors:
- Tobacco use – Approximately 80 percent of people with cancer of the oral cavity smoke cigarettes or use chewing tobacco.
- Heavy alcohol consumption – About 70 percent of oral cancer cases are in people who drink often.
- HPV infection – The human papilloma virus, or HPV, has been shown to increase the risk of developing cancerous lesions in the mouth.
- Certain genetic syndromes – These include fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital
Symptoms of oral cancer are often so minor at first that patients are unaware of the problem until it becomes serious. The following are common symptoms associated with oral cancer:
- A sore that does not heal after two weeks
- A lump or thickening of tissue anywhere in the mouth
- Numbness or tingling of the tongue or other soft tissues
- Pain in the jaw and/or difficulty chewing
- Persistent cough or hoarseness
- Loosening teeth or a change in the way dentures fit
- Difficulty moving the tongue
- A feeling like something is stuck in the throat
- White or red patch on the tonsils, tongue, gums, or cheek lining
Only a comprehensive exam and oral cancer screening with Dr. Hume can definitively determine whether or not a lesion or sore is a cause for concern. During your screening, we will check for any signs of the symptoms listed above as well as earlier indicators that may be impossible to see yourself.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life
If it has been more than one year since your last oral cancer screening, there’s never been a better time to schedule your next one with Dr. Hume and his dedicated team. Contact us today to learn more about oral cancer and how you can reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease. Our state-of-the-art dental practice in Dallas, TX proudly serves families from throughout the DFW Metroplex, including communities in Highland Park, Frisco, Plano, North Dallas, Richardson, Garland, and beyond.