Things You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

This year, an estimated 49,750 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States.

Of that group, 57 percent of people with oral cancer are expected to survive five years or longer, although the survival rate is higher (83 percent) for patients whose oral cancer is detected early.

One of the ways you can help yourself is by scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams at our dentist office if you live in or near Fredericksburg, VA. Our dental professionals will be looking for signs of tooth decay and gum disease, but we will be looking for oral cancer symptoms as well.

If you have not yet scheduled your next appointment, call 540-373-2080 or contact us online.


Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. We would prefer it if none of our patients developed this disease. At the same time, everyone at the office of Dr. Lloyd F. Moss Jr. and Dr. Lloyd F. Moss III understands how important early detection is in treating oral cancer.

One of the difficulties in detecting oral cancer is that is can often be painless in the early stages. With that in mind, we want you to be aware of possible symptoms:

◼︎ Red and/or white patches in the soft tissue of your mouth

◼︎ An ulcer or sore that remains unhealed after 14 days

◼︎ A lump inside your mouth or neck

◼︎ Persistent pain when eating, speaking, swallowing

◼︎ Persistent feeling of being hoarse

◼︎ Feelings of numbness in your mouth or face

◼︎ A persistent or a recurrent earache on one side of your face

These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. At the same, they are a clue that you should have your mouth checked by a professional.

We know it can be scary, but it’s also better to know what’s going on so you can know the next steps to take.


Tobacco And Oral Cancer

Learning to recognize oral cancer symptoms is important, but learning what you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer can make a big difference as well.

With oral cancer (as with many other kinds of cancer), tobacco use is a big risk factor. In fact, tobacco is easily the leading cause of oral cancer in the United States.

More than 70 known cancer-causing chemicals have been found in tobacco products. In addition to that, tobacco use is known to weaken the body’s immune system, which makes it more difficult to fight oral cancer.

The Oral Cancer Foundation reported that as of 2008, 22 percent of Americans 45 and older were smokers. And yet, 75 percent of people 50 and older who are diagnosed with oral cancer have been tobacco users.

You also should know that using any kind of tobacco — chew, dip, cigars, cigarettes — raises your risk of developing oral cancer.

And in case you were wondering, initial research suggests that vaping or using e-cigarettes also raises your risk of oral cancer. In fact, one study even suggests that vaping may be more likely to cause cancer than other tobacco products.

The best advice is to avoid tobacco products entirely. If you are currently a tobacco user and you would like to quit, you may be able to find support at Quit Now Virginia.


Alcohol And Oral Cancer

Aside from tobacco, alcohol use is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer in the United States.

To be clear, the biggest risk is for people who abuse alcohol. Health officials have defined this as 21 or more drinks per week for males or 14 or more drinks per week for females.

Alcohol has the effect of drying out your mouth. This can make the combination of alcohol and tobacco particularly troublesome. When the soft tissues of your mouth are dehydrated, they are more likely to absorb the chemical found in tobacco products.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, your risk of developing oral cancer is you using tobacco and drink large amounts of alcohol can be up to 15 times higher than someone who does neither of those things.


Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you have not already done so, we encourage you to make an appointment at the office of Drs. Moss & Moss soon. Routine dental exams can help identify oral cancer when it can be treated more easily.

You can contact us with our online form or call us at 540-373-2080.