Oral Cancer Is On The Rise
The rates of oral cancer has been on the rise. It no longer mostly smokers or tobacco-users at risk; it’s also sexually-active people between the ages of 25 and 50. The percentage of head and neck cancers linked to the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) disease increased by 225% in the last two decades, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in October 2011. HPV may lead to more cases of oral cancer than cervical cancer by 2020.
More than 35,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and because it is often caught late, only half of those diagnosed will survive more than five years. If detected early, patients have nearly a 90% survival rate.
Early detection is the key! Oral cancer screening is a part of your dental re-care exam: your dentist and/or hygienist look for changes in your mouth. Often the early stage of the cancer is asymptomatic. People tend to think they bit their cheek and forget about it. Or their voice may be hoarse, but they do not realize it is a sign that something can be seriously wrong.
Oral cancer signs and symptoms can include:
- A sore in the mouth that bleeds easily or doesn’t heal
- A change of color in the oral tissues
- A change in the way teeth fit together
- A lump, a crusty spot, a thickening of an area or a small eroded area
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
- Trouble chewing, swallowing or moving the jaw or tongue
If you have any of these symptoms, make sure you call your dentist.
Dr Luda Ushakova and Your Oral Health Care Team