According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Oral or Pharyngeal Cancer this year. Currently, Oral Cancer causes approximately 8,000 deaths in the United States every year.
The death rate associated with this type of Cancer is particularly high and is higher than other common types of Cancers including Cervical Cancer, Skin Cancer and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is due to the Cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Often, Oral Cancer is only discovered after it has metastasized to another location.
Risk factors for developing Oral Cancer include age, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and persistent viral infections such as HPV. You can reduce your risk of developing Oral Cancer by refraining from using tobacco products and limiting alcohol consumption.
In its early stages, Oral Cancer may be painless and may not cause obvious physical changes. However, a thorough Oral Cancer screening performed by an Oral Surgeon can detect this type of Cancer in its early stages.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining inside the mouth (often painless)
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
If you experience any of these warning signs, you should promptly notify your physician. Your physician may refer you to an Oral Surgeon who can perform a thorough Oral Cancer screening and a biopsy, if indicated.