Research shows that 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Over 9,000 will not survive the next five years. In short, one person dies of oral cancer every hour of every day.
These sobering statistics prove that everyone, even low-risk people, should undergo an oral cancer screening at their dental visits. Finding and treating oral and oropharyngeal cancers early substantially improves the survival rate.
Dr. Horblitt’s dental office in Fairfield, CT, offers oral cancer screenings by request and at all six-month checkups. If your family needs a dentist you can trust, contact Dr. Horblitt today at (203) 335-1011 to schedule an appointment.
What is oral cancer?
Considered a head and neck cancer, oral and oropharyngeal cancers develop in soft tissues of the mouth and the back of the mouth/throat. In addition to twice-a-year screenings by your dentist, you can look for symptoms during your daily oral care routine. These symptoms may indicate that you could have oral cancer. If you experience any of these, schedule an dental appointment. Early detection is essential to successful treatment.
- An abnormally colored mouth or lip sore that does not heal in 14 days
- New, chronic hoarseness
- New voice changes
- Changes in how it feels to swallow
- Painless lumps on your neck, cheeks, or head
- Persistent ear aches on one side
- New asymmetry in your face’s appearance
- Change of color or texture on the top or bottom of the tongue
- Pain when chewing
- Chronic numbness in or around the mouth or throat
- A nagging cough that does not subside with treatment
Am I at risk?
Though people who use tobacco and drink alcohol heavily are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer, everyone needs to be screened regularly.
HPV is connected to oral cancer, as well. Children may receive the HPV vaccine as young as nine years old for boys and 11 for girls. Teens and adults who have not been vaccinated can receive the vaccine until approximately age 45.
Patients who don’t drink alcohol, use tobacco, or have HPV can develop oral cancer from unknown causes, so everyone, absolutely everyone, needs an oral cancer screening.
Do children get oral cancer?
Oral cancers in children are rare, but they do occur. Statistically, older patients have a higher risk. Only 20% of people under age 55 develop oral cancers, the median age at diagnosis is 63, and more men than women are diagnosed. One man in every 60 and one woman in every 140 will develop oral cancer. Again, everyone, children to seniors, need an oral cancer screening at six-month dental checkups.
How can I reduce my risk?
- If you use tobacco, stop. Ask Dr. Horblitt or your physician for assistance.
- If you drink alcohol daily, cut back. Ask Dr. Horblitt or your physician for assistance if you have trouble reducing your alcohol intake.
- If you’ve not had the HPV vaccine and are under 45, ask your physician for the inoculation.
- Visit the dentist twice a year and specifically ask for an oral cancer screening.
- Self-exam and, if you notice suspicious lumps or lesions, or any of the symptoms listed in this article, call your dentist for a screening.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Now
Call Dr. Horblitt in Fairfield, CT, today to make an appointment for a comprehensive checkup, including head, neck, and mouth evaluation to screen for cancers. Our goal is to help patients avoid health issues by providing excellent dental care, as well as education about oral health.
For more information about oral cancer, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation online or Cancer.org.