Oral cancer is fairly rare and accounts for approximately two percent of all cancer diagnoses each year. It is most common among older adults, but at least one in eight cases develop in people under the age of 50. As with all forms of cancer, oral malignancies are most treatable and have the best chance of successful treatment when diagnosed early. The dental staff at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA recommends regular oral cancer screenings to monitor any changes or abnormal growths in the oral cavity.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity including:
- Throat (Pharynx)
- Hard and soft palette (roof and floor)
The most common sign of cancer is a sore or wound in the mouth that does not heal, or frequently returns. Although common oral problems like canker sores are usually not a sign of cancer, contact a dentist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Sores that bleed or do not heal within a few weeks
- Unexplained difficulty and pain while chewing and swallowing
- Chronic hoarseness and loss of voice
- Pain and stiffness
- Changes in bite, tooth alignment or denture fit
What are the Causes and Risk Factors for Mouth and Throat Cancer?
Cancer results from mutations to healthy cells. Several factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer:
- All forms of tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Sun damage and overexposure to UV rays (lips)
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- Weak or diminished immune system
Oral Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Andover, MA
The dentists at Dentistry by Design in Andover perform a comprehensive visual and physical examination of the tongue and inside of the mouth for the presence of patches or growths that could be easy to miss without a thorough oral exam.
Find a Dentist in Andover, MA
In addition to helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease, regular dental exams can detect early signs of oral cancer. To learn more about your individual risk factors, contact Dentistry by Design by calling (978) 475-5333 to schedule an appointment today.