Most people know someone who has been afflicted with the pervasive and life-threatening disease that is cancer. While oral cancer isn’t as common as other varieties, nearly 50,000 Americans will develop it this year. Of these, nearly 10,000 will die from it. In order to diminish the prevalence of cancer and promote early prevention, remaining informed is key. Richmond, Kentucky’s top dentist, Mark Stephens DMD, is here to explain what you need to know.
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Like most cancers, the risk of the disease increases with age, with men over 50 being the most frequently affected. Other common risk factors include smoking tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, those who use tobacco were found to be up to 50 times more likely to develop various forms of oral cancer. The disease is also six times more prevalent in drinkers than in nondrinkers. Those with a family history of cancer, have endured excessive sun exposure, or have HPV are also disproportionately affected.
Oral cancer typically manifests in the form of a persistent growth or sore in the mouth. It may affect the lips, tongue, mouth floor, cheeks, sinuses, throat, or soft palate. Patients might notice the growth, but other symptoms may include inexplicable bleeding, numbness, or pain in the mouth. More signs include difficulty chewing or talking, a chronic sore throat, or ear pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist immediately for an evaluation. During your regular dental exam, your dentist screens you for oral cancer and conducts a brush biopsy if you appear to exhibit warning signs. The sooner cancer is detected, the sooner it can be combated. Once oral cancer is discovered, the growth will need to be surgically removed, and the patient will undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
For high-quality dental care, orthodontics, and oral screenings in Richmond, look no further than Mark Stephens DMD. To schedule an appointment, call today at (859) 626-0069. For more information, visit the website.