Over 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, but only 57% of those cases will live longer than five years after being diagnosed. Why is the fatality rate so high? Oral cancer is very hard to spot and can very easily go unnoticed until it is too late. Listed below are a few quick facts to educate yourself on the risks and preventative measures against oral cancer.
What causes oral cancer?
The leading cause is HPV, one of the widest spread viruses in America. Smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol in excess can also lead to gum irritation and oral cancer.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Unfortunately, oral cancer is very hard to recognize until it is highly developed. It can be identified in the early stages as typical mouth and gum irritation like a canker sore or open wounds seemingly stemmed from dentures or other prosthetic implants. Unexplained bleeding or numbness are possible causes, although not always directly resulting in cancer, as well as ear or throat pain.
How can I prevent getting oral cancer?
One of the easiest ways to keep your mouth, and general body, in good condition is to refrain from tobacco use (both cigarettes and smokeless) as well as excessive alcohol consumption. Still, 25 percent of oral patients do not smoke or drink. Further prevention includes keeping a healthy diet, limiting exposure to sun on your lips by using sunscreen or medicated chapstick, and self-checking every month to keep track of any changes or irregularities. It is always recommended to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and cleaning.
If you find that any of these symptoms apply to you, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas area to set up an appointment.