What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

  • Oral cancer occurs more often in those over age 40.
  • It affects twice as many men as women.
  • The risk factors include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, and sun exposure.
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables may play a role in cancer development, as these food groups contain antioxidants that are thought to have cancer-preventive benefits.
  • Certain STDs such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have been linked to oral cancer.
  • Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer exam and screening during your routine visits and will check your face, neck, lips, and mouth.
  • It is important to notify your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms: a sore or lump in your mouth, throat or lip, difficulty swallowing or chewing, ear pain, a white or red patch in the mouth, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, numbness of any part of the mouth, or swelling.   Your dentist will evaluate the affected area and when indicated, refer to a specialist for biopsy and diagnosis.
  • Early detection can lead to more successful treatment of oral cancer.