Why you need an oral cancer screening

As with any other type of cancer, early detection of oral cancer is very important. In this post, we’ll cover the symptoms and risk factors you should look out for.

Oral cancer fast facts

  • Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer
  • Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer than women
  • Over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
  • One in five oral cancer patients is under 55
  • Oral cancer can affect the tongue, tonsils, gums, floor of the mouth, and other parts of the mouth

Factors that increase your risk of oral cancer

Cigarettes and other tobacco products are one of the primary risk factors for oral cancer. Historically, 75% of oral cancer patients over 50 used tobacco. People who use both tobacco and alcohol over a prolonged period are up to 15x more likely to get oral cancer.

Early warning signs

The mouth is a natural warning system that can aid in early detection. If you suffer from any of the following signs or symptoms for two weeks or longer, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon for a screening:

  • Tightness in the jaw or difficulty speaking, swallowing or moving your tongue
  • White, red or speckled patches anywhere in the mouth
  • Lumps, thickening tissues or rough spots in your mouth
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in your oral cavity

Anyone can get oral cancer

While older patients or patients who use alcohol or tobacco are at higher risk of having oral cancer, the truth is that it can happen to anyone. Everyone should get an oral cancer screening to look after your future health. Early detection increases your chances of a full cure and recovery.