Signs of Oral Cancer to be Aware of
It is believed that well over 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2018. Additionally, around 10,000 people will die of oral cancer this year. If oral cancer has not spread at the time of detection, 83% of those diagnosed will survive at least five years. The survival rate decreases the more the cancer has spread. This makes early detection of oral cancer especially imperative, which is why it is so important to know the warning signs of oral cancer. Here are the top seven signs of oral cancer.
1. Persistent Mouth Pain
Persistent mouth pain is pain anywhere in the mouth, such as the lining of the mouth, tongue, gums, etc. that persists and can not be attributed to any other sign of trauma to the mouth. Oral cancer tends to cause general and persistent pain to the mouth, however there are several other reasons you may be experiencing mouth pain. Pain in the mouth lasting longer than a few days should be checked out by a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
2. Mouth Sores
Mouth sores on the cheeks, lips, tongue, and other areas within the mouth may all signal the presence of cancer. Mouth sores may be noncancerous as well, but they are always worth having checked out by your doctor for removal and testing. These sores are most likely uncomfortable, so it will be beneficial to have them treated regardless!
3. Red or White Patches
Patients diagnosed with oral cancer often report the presence of red and/or white patches in the mouth. These patches feel dry and are uncomfortable, often appearing on the lining of the mouth, tonsils, gums, and tongue. If you have red or white patches within your mouth, this may be a sign of some sort of infection or the early stages of oral cancer.
4. Trouble Swallowing
The symptom of having trouble swallowing is another common complaint among patients with oral cancer. It is important to note that having trouble swallowing could also mean many things, such as you coming down with a cold or are having some sort of allergic reaction. However, trouble swallowing with no other related symptoms, especially if it persists a few days, should be discussed with your doctor.
5. Numbness Anywhere in the Mouth
Oral cancer may cause a feeling of numbness in the mouth. Numbness anywhere in the body is usually enough cause for some concern, therefore it is very important to discuss any feelings of numbness with your doctor. A completely numb tongue is a common complaint in the early stages of oral cancer, and should never be brushed off as normal.
6. A Sore Throat That Lingers
Everyone gets a sore throat from time to time, but it should never last longer than a couple of weeks. If you have a prolonged sore throat that is not attributed to some sort of illness, such as tonsillitis or strep throat, then you absolutely need to make an appointment with a specialist for further testing.
7. Losing Teeth for No Apparent Reason
Losing teeth at any time other than when you are a child or have experienced some sort of mouth injury is typically not normal. Losing teeth may mean that something much more serious is going on inside of the mouth and should prompt a visit to your dentist. Even if your teeth are falling out due to decay and not oral cancer – you do not want to ignore this!
Detecting Oral Cancer in Pennsylvania
It is important to note that just because you have these symptoms does not definitely mean you have oral cancer. It just means you should make an appointment with a dentist to get it checked out. The doctors at St. Luke’s OMS are located throughout Pennsylvania and are skilled in detecting and diagnosing oral cancer. With so many people’s lives torn apart each year with an oral cancer diagnosis, it is vital to stay on top of the warning signs. Make an appointment at St. Luke’s OMS today.