Oral cancer is highly treatable IF it is caught early
Every year, during the month of April, a number of organizations come together to join the American Dental Association for a common goal– Oral Cancer Awareness. This year is the 19th year it’s been recognized and celebrated.
The reason education and information about oral cancer is so important is that surviving oral cancer can depend heavily on early detection. In fact, it can mean the difference between life and death.
The definition of cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue.
More specifically, oral cancer appears as a growth or a sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away. This includes cancers of your lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of your mouth, hard and soft palates, sinuses, and your throat. All kinds of oral cancers can be life-threatening if they aren’t diagnosed and treated early.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
-Unexplained mouth bleeding.
-Numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any areas of your face, mouth, or neck.
-Sores on your face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal after 2 weeks.
-Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue and/or jaw.
-A hoarse voice, chronic sore throat, or a noticeable change in the sound of your voice.
-Swellings, lumps, rough spots, and/or eroded areas on your lips, gums, or any other areas inside of your mouth.
-Velvety white, red, or speckled patches in your mouth.
-A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat.
-Unexplained ear pain.
-A change in the way your teeth fit together.
-Dramatic weight loss.
These don’t include all of the symptoms that can occur with oral cancer, and you might not even notice any. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have regular dental check-ups once every 6 months.
The good news is, if oral cancer is detected early (in stages one or two), the survival rate is around 85%. However, if it goes undiagnosed until stage three or four, the chances of survival drop to about 25%. Because catching it early is so important, we always screen for it whenever you have a dental exam.
That being said, if you ever notice any changes in your mouth in-between appointments, contact us immediately.
Make an Appointment
Has it been over six months since your last appointment with Dr. Arnold? If so, you’re due for a check-up and an oral cancer screening! Give us a call at (859) 269-1000 or click here to request an appointment online.
Ever since he was little Dr. J. Fred Arnold wanted to be a dentist. He has lived in Kentucky all of his life, except for three years he spent serving in the Air Force (1984-1987). He and his wife Holly have raised their family here and couldn’t imagine spending life anywhere else. They love the great schools and the emphasis on arts and culture.