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Oral Cancer Detection and Prevention

Of all your health care providers, we in the dental profession are one of your most valuable allies in detecting cancer. Oral and throat cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer. It affects more than 30,000 people annually. During your examination, we evaluate your lips, gum tissue, cheeks, tongue, floor of the mouth and both the hard and soft palates. We look for and explore any abnormal findings.

Knowledge is power and knowing some of the warning signs of oral cancer can help you avoid it progressing. You should take a few minutes and examine your lips, gum tissue, cheeks, tongue, floor of the mouth and both the hard and soft palates. Do this in a well lit area in front of a good mirror. Here are some of the signs. If you find any of these you should bring it to our attention immediately.

bulletA lump on the lip or in the floor of the mouth
bulletA sore anywhere in the mouth that doesn't heal within two weeks
bulletAn area that bleeds or increases in size
bulletDifficulty in moving the jaw or tongue
bulletDifficulty in swallowing or chewing
bulletA sore throat that does not heal
bulletA prolonged feeling that something is caught in the throat
bulletNumbness or pain in the mouth or lips
bulletDentures or bridges that used to fit comfortably, but now are uncomfortable due to a swelling
bulletChanges in the voice
bulletChanges in how the teeth fit together or looseness in the teeth
bulletPain in the ear

You can minimize your risk of ever developing oral or throat cancer. First and foremost, discontinue any use of any form of tobacco. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, and chewing tobacco. Avoid chronic or heavy use of alcohol. Finally, visit us regularly so that we can perform a periodic oral cancer examination.

Information for patients receiving cancer therapy.

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