Oral cancer refers to any cancer forming in the mouth which includes beneath the tongue, cheeks, the gums, or lips. When you brush and floss your teeth you should also take the time to do an oral exam of your own. Do you have a sore on your lip or in your mouth that does not seem to want to heal? What about a patch in your mouth that looks red or white? Those could all be early signs of oral cancer. Also, if you discover one of your teeth is loose or you have a swollen lump on the soft tissue of your mouth those could be indicators too. As strange as it sounds, ear pain or difficulty swallowing could also be signs of oral cancer.
What Increases my Chance of Oral Cancer?
Smokers of cigarettes or cigars are six times more likely to develop oral cancer and those who use smokeless tobacco are fifty times more likely. Those who are heavy drinkers or who abuse alcohol are also six times more likely to have cancer. Genetics come into play too. If you have a family history of oral cancer, then you have a higher likelihood of developing it. If as a child, you were heavily exposed to sunlight or had bad sunburns while growing up you have a higher rate of oral cancer than someone who was not. Those who test positive for the human papilloma virus have a higher instance of certain types of oral cancer. It should be noted that 25% of all instances of oral cancer occur in patients who have never smoked and drink only occasionally. If you notice any of the early signs of oral cancer or simply have questions regarding oral cancer treatment, please do not hesitate to give us call
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