about oral cancer

Cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus and other sites located in the head and neck area.  These mouth cancers have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma according to the oral cancer foundation.

Oral and pharyngeal cancer is the sixth most common malignancy reported worldwide and one with high mortality ratios among all malignancies.  In USA alone, 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer each year.  About 90 percent of the head and neck cancers are of the squamous cell variety.  Although there have been significant improvements in chemotherapy and surgical techniques.  The disease is often challenging to treat since most patients present with advanced disease have secondary tumors.  Unfortunately, 5-year survival rate has not improved (50%overall) for the last few decades.

In its very early stages, mouth cancer can be almost invisible making it easy to ignore.  You can improve you chances of survival if the cancer is detected early and rapidly treated.  It is important to have self-awareness and to perform regular, self-examination to help in the early identification of these symptoms:

  • A sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks
  • A lump or overgrowth of tissue anywhere in the mouth.
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth.
  • Difficulty in chewing or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than six weeks, particularly smokers over 50 years old and heavy drinkers.
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
  • Neck swelling present for more than three weeks.
  • Unexplained tooth mobility persisting for more than three weeks.

Reduce you chances of getting these oral cancers by:

  • Not smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Not smoking hookah, which is a habit that is increasing among our teenagers.
  • Limiting your alcohol consumption.
  • Visit Desert Smiles for regular checkups and cleaning and oral cancer screening.  Early detection is the key factor in treatment success.

Our focus is providing the finest in Phoenix Cosmetic dentistry, but more importantly, safeguarding our patient’s health.

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