Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Every year, over 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer in the U.S. Sadly, one person dies of oral cancer in America every hour. If detected early, oral cancer is 90% survivable.

At highest risk are adults over the age of 40 and tobacco users (including “smokeless” brands). Other risk factors are heavy alcohol use, viral infections, prolonged sun exposure (lip cancer) and a history of white or red patches on oral tissues. However, the American Dental Association reports that over 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors.

Warning signs of oral cancer include a mouth sore that does not heal, white or red patch of tissue, difficulty swallowing, a lump or mass in the mouth or neck, long period of hoarseness, pain or numbness in the oral region, change in the voice, or long period of ear pain.

Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it is treated early. Having an exam promptly when these signs occur may enable us to conclude there. If not, at least we know the odds are in the patient’s favor. If you have any of these symptoms, please call us at (828) 274-9440 as soon as possible to arrange an examination.

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