How is Mouth Cancer Detected?

Mouth or oral cancer accounts for 2% of cancer diagnoses in the US, annually. 61% of people diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than 5 years. When it comes to any form of cancer, early detection is the best way to beat it. Because mouth cancer is so easily felt and visible, it is one of the easiest forms of cancer to detect.

What Should you Look Out For?

Lesions – If you have any lesions in your mouth (red or white) for longer than 2 weeks, you should ask a doctor about evaluating them, and maybe doing a biopsy. Leukoplakia (white lesions) are less likely to be or become cancerous than erythroplakia (red lesions), though red lesions are much more common.

Lumps or Growths – any thickening of tissues in your mouth should raise red flags. If there are these along with a difficulty swallowing, jaw pain, numbness in the tongue or any other unusual feeling or pain, you should seek advice from your doctor.

Any time you visit the dentist you should ask them to do a thorough examination of your head and neck. Especially if you are a smoker.

Risk Factors

Tobacco – Most oral cancers can be traced back to tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, or a mixture of the two.

HPV – The STI HPV (human papillomavirus), specifically type 16, is linked with oral cancer diagnoses.

Age – The older you get, the higher your risk of developing oral or mouth cancer. It is especially common in people over the age of 40.

Sun Exposure – sunburns or just excessive exposure to the sun can cause lip cancer.

Diet – If your diet is insufficient in fruit and veg this can be a cause of developing mouth cancer.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ mauro1969

Posted on April 12, 2017