Oral cancer is a disease resulting from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat.
Oral cancer is more common in people over 45 who smoke, chew tobacco or abuse alcohol. I caught early enough, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Early signs of oral cancer are often difficult to detect without an examination by a dentist. Even if you do not have any natural teeth, or if you have never smoked, biannual oral cancer examinations by your dentist are recommended. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial in significantly increasing long-term survival.
Be mindful of any change in voice, or a sore or discolored area of your mouth. If these conditions do not heal within 14 days, be sure to have your dentist exam these areas.
Signs and symptoms:
- White or dark red patches in your mouth, or on your lips or tongue
- Lumps or changes in the texture or colour of the mouth tissues
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth; sores or patches that do not heal
- Difficulty swallowing; changes in taste or tongue sensation
To help prevent oral cancer:
- See your dentist regularly for dental exams and ask about oral cancer screenings
- Stop using tobacco products – ask your dentist about tools to help you quit
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Limit sun exposure and use U/V protective lip balms
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Check your mouth regularly for signs or symptoms and report any changes in your mouth to your dentist right away
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