Tiana Osbourne, DDS, Cornerstone Family Healthcare
Can you imagine life without your tongue or the ability to taste and chew your favorite foods? This could be a potential reality of surviving aggressive oral cancer treatment.
Each year about 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Oral cancer accounts for four percent of all cancers, but has a higher death rate than more common cancers like thyroid, endocrine or cervical. Not because it is a more aggressive than the rest; many times it is not diagnosed until its later stages.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer refers to any cancer that appears on any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, floor and roof of the mouth.
What are signs and symptoms of oral cancer?
- Red or white patches that do not go away
- Swelling around the jaw
- Painful or loose teeth
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- Pain or tenderness in the lips or mouth
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, and moving your tongue or jaw
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
People who heavily smoke or chew tobacco, drink alcohol and are over the age of 50 are at an increased risk for developing oral cancer. About 75 percent of head and neck cancers are caused by smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. In non-smoking patients, the HPV version 16 virus is a sexually transmitted disease that increases the risk of oral cancer. People with weak immune systems and infectious diseases are also more at risk development of oral cancer.
How is it treated?
Most cases of oral cancer are curable! The earlier the diagnosis, the easier it will be to treat. Many times oral cancer is treated with a combination of therapies such as surgery, targeted drug therapy, chemotherapy and radiation. Patients who are treated early for cancer reduce their chances of post-operative disfigurement, while those whose cancer is caught at a later stage, surgical removal of the lymph nodes, jawbone or tongue may be necessary. So don’t delay, get you oral cancer screening completed today!
How do I get screened for oral cancer?
Dental Professionals are trained to look for common signs and symptoms of oral cancer. In a typical exam, we check for abnormalities and enlarged lymph nodes in your head, neck and mouth. The best way to improve your chances of diagnosing oral cancer in its early stages is to be seen for routine dental treatments. Stop by one of Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s dental offices, where an oral cancer screening will be completed as part of your routine comprehensive oral exam.
Visit our website at www.cornerstonefamilyhealthcare.org or call (845) 563-8000 to make an appointment today!