Oral cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers. It is typically found on the mouth, lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands and throat. It is important to take every precaution available to avoid oral cancer. With help from Dr. Robert Shackelford and his experienced team at Dentistry of Johns Creek, you can know what to look out for and take the necessary preventive steps.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is most often caused by smoking or tobacco-related products. In fact, smokers are up to six times more likely to develop cancer of the mouth. Similarly, those who use smokeless tobacco such as snuff are at an even greater risk of developing oral cancer in the lining of the lips and the gums. So if you are a smoker or if you use tobacco, the first preventive measure you can take is to quit.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer as well. You are also at an increased risk of developing cancer if it runs in your family because there is a strong genetic factor involved.
Signs and Symptoms
The majority of patients with oral cancer commonly experience swelling and lumps inside their mouth or on the lips and gums. These may also appear as crusts, eroded patches, and rough spots. Bleeding may occur for no reason and red or white patches in your mouth may develop.
Frequently, a loss in sensitivity is experienced in your mouth, face or neck and sores appear in similar areas as well. The sores bleed often and remain present for an extended period of time. In the early stages, oral cancer typically starts with an asymptomatic stage where the following symptoms may not be obvious:
- Ongoing pain in the mouth
- Visible sores or bumps inside the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing
- Continuous sore throat
- Ear pain
- Bleeding from the tongue, gums or cheeks
- Numbness in the mouth or jaw
These signs do not necessarily signify cancer; they may be associated with early signs of cancer. Your dentist will be able to help with the diagnosis.
If you’d like to set up a consultation with Dr. Robert Shackelford and the experienced team here at Dentistry of Johns Creek in Suwanee, GA, please click here or call (770) 442-8472 to speak with a member of our front office team.