Posts for tag: oral cancer
Every year, nearly 50,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed to those living in the US. Unfortunately, oral cancer also often goes undetected until the disease has already progressed to a dangerous point. Accordingly, one of the best ways to safeguard yourself from the condition is to visit our Redlands, CA, dentist, Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, every six months for a checkup and cleaning. During these exams, we also look for early warning signs of oral cancer. These simple screenings are quick, non-invasive, and could save your life.
More about oral cancer
Oral cancer can develop on the lips, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, under the tongue and gums. If you notice any growths, lumps, or other developments that have you concerned, this also warrants giving your Redlands dentist a call between checkups. Listen to your body—if something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth getting checked out. Here are some of the warning signs and symptoms of oral cancer:
- A sore on the lips or mouth that doesn’t go away
- A red or white patch or lesion on the gums or soft tissue of the mouth
- A lump or growth that develops in the mouth
- Mouth pain
- Trouble swallowing
While these symptoms aren’t all unique to oral cancer, if you start to experience them, it is important to see a dentist to find out what’s going on.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
While anyone can develop oral cancer there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing mouth cancer, including:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- A compromised immune system
- Having the human papillomavirus (an STD)
By wearing sunscreen daily on your face and lips, reducing alcohol use, and quitting smoking, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. However, even if you aren’t at risk, it’s still important that you visit your dentist twice a year for a quick screening.
Concerned? Give us a call
Whether you are actively experiencing oral cancer symptoms or you just need to schedule a routine cleaning, call our Redlands, CA, dental office today at (909) 793-9711 to book your next appointment. Make your oral health a priority by contacting Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc!
Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.
As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.
Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.
Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”