At Robinson Dentistry, routine, careful examination of patients for oral and pharyngeal cancer, in addition to an updated health history, are an important part our patients’ regular dental visits.   They are especially important since oral and pharyngeal cancers are much more easily treated if detected in early stages.

Below are some important facts about oral cancer, along with some signs and symptoms that often accompany these cancers.

Incidence of Oral Cancer

  • Oral and pharyngeal cancer strikes an estimated 39,000 Americans each year. An estimated 8,000 people die of these cancers annually.
  • The disease occurs more than twice as often in men as in women.
  • An estimated 1 in 92 adults will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in their lifetime.
  • The median age at diagnosis is 62 years (that figure may drop to 52 to 58 years for people who have oral or pharyngeal cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Heavy use of tobacco and alcohol together greatly increases the risk of developing oral and pharyngeal cancer
  • HPV infection is associated with oropharyngeal cancer
  • Age: the risk greatly increases after 44 years
  • Gender: men are twice as likely to develop oral and pharyngeal cancer
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure is a particular risk factor for lip cancer
  • Nutrition: a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is associated with a lower incidence of oral and pharyngeal cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Leukoplakia or erythroplakia (white or red patches in the mouth)
  • A lump or thickening of the oral soft tissues, or swelling that affects the fit and comfort of dentures
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue; a sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat; numbness; hoarseness or a change in the voice.
  • Signs and symptoms above that persist for two weeks or more.

Again, early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the effectiveness of treatment, so if you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms described above, please call or make an appointment to come see us for an examination.

Wishing you Happiness and Health in 2016 and Beyond!

-The Robinson Dentistry Team