This two part article series discusses oral cancers and the measures patients and dentists alike can take to detect this terrible disease early.
Oral cancer accounts for an approximate 2% of all the cancer cases diagnosed in the United States each year. While this may seem like a small percentage, the 36,500 people who receive this shocking diagnosis will tell you that they feel like more than just a minority statistic! According to oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, almost 8,000 of these people will eventually die from the disease; 40% of them won’t survive more than 5 years. The key in surviving oral cancer and indeed any cancer, explain oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, is early detection and treatment. This alone is capable of dramatically reducing the terrible statistics of deaths amongst oral cancer sufferers. The best way we can detect oral cancer early, explain Pueblo dental professionals and oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, is to (1) increase patient awareness of the signs and symptoms of this terrible disease, and (2) encourage them to seek prompt professional attention should they ever notice any changes to their oral health. In this two part article series on oral cancer, we strive to achieve just this.
Pueblo Dental Professionals and Oral Surgeons in Colorado Springs Stress the Importance of Early Detection
When it comes to cancers affecting any part of the body, say oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, early detection and treatment really does saves lives. When oral cancer is diagnosed in its infancy, it tends to be localized and so can be removed without any implications for the rest of the body. The 5-year survival rate for patients that have been diagnosed early is an optimistic 83%, say Pueblo dental health professionals, whereas those in the advanced stages are only looking at a 32% survival rate! This is primarily because the cancerous cells have had the chance – via the bloodstream - to migrate to and disease other vital organs in the body. In most cases, oral cancers can be readily diagnosed and it doesn’t take the discerning eye of oral surgeons in Colorado Springs or Pueblo dental health professionals to do so!
Pueblo Dental Professionals and Oral Surgeons in Colorado Springs: Signs and Symptoms to be Aware Of
Early detection of oral cancer is almost always possible due to tissue changes in the mouth that can quite easily be seen or felt. The tongue is a very sensitive organ, so there’s not much that can go on in the mouth without being discovered promptly, explain oral surgeons in Colorado Springs. So what are the warning signs of oral cancer?
- Red, white or red-and-white patches inside the mouth or on the lips:
- Red patches, also known as erythroplakia, tend to be smooth, brightly colored areas in the mouth that frequently become malignant.
- White patches, also known as leukoplakia, are the most common type of cancerous oral lesions, say oral surgeons in Colorado Springs.
- Red-and-white patches, also known as erythroleukoplakia, while less common than white patches, are more likely to become malignant.
- A sore in your mouth or on your lips that won’t heal
- Bleeding in the mouth, say oral surgeons in Colorado Springs
- A lump or thickening in the soft tissues of the mouth (the cheek, tongue, palate, gums, etc.)
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty in wearing removable dentures. This, according to oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, can be caused by swelling of the jaw.
- An earache
- Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
- Numbness of the tongue or any other area in the mouth
- A lump in your neck
Stay Tuned for More on Oral Cancer from Pueblo Dental Professionals…
To find out what you should do in the event that you ever notice one or more of these symptoms, stay tuned for the final installment of this two-part article series. Remember, urge oral surgeons in Colorado Springs, early action could literally mean the difference between life and death!