Oral cancer is a cancer that develops in the tissues of the lips, mouth, cheek, gums, tongue or throat. In 2021, an estimated 54,010 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal (throat) cancer. These cancer rates are more than twice as high in men as in women. In fact, oral and oropharyngeal cancers are the eighth most common cancer among men with most diagnoses occurring after age 60.
April is oral cancer awareness month, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of monthly self-exams. You can easily perform a self-exam at home; just look and feel inside your mouth and around your neck and jaw for suspicious sores or lumps. If you notice anything unexpected or out of the ordinary, contact your dentist right away for an oral cancer screening.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer
Please keep in mind that some of these symptoms, like a sore throat or an earache, may be caused by another condition or illness. However, if you notice one or more of these symptoms (especially if they are unexplained, they do not go away or you’re experiencing more than one at a time), visit your dentist or doctor as soon as possible for an exam and treatment:
- A sore on your lip or mouth that won’t heal
- A mass or growth anywhere in your mouth
- Bleeding from your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pain or difficulty swallowing (not associated with a cold or the flu)
- A sore throat
- Trouble wearing dentures
- A lump in your neck
- An earache that won’t go away
- Dramatic weight loss
- Lower lip, face, neck or chin numbness
- White, red and white or red patches in or on your mouth or lips
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Tongue pain
Alpine Dental Health offers a number of advanced treatments like 3D dental imaging, electronic dental records, intra-oral cameras, digital x-rays, electric dental hand pieces and dental magnification loops to help make your visit as pleasant, comfortable and efficient as possible.
We encourage you to visit one of our conveniently located dental offices in Boulder, Denver or Fort Collins for your oral cancer screening. Early detection and treatment are essential to surviving oral cancer. We also offer dental hygiene, general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implants and periodontics in a safe, comfortable setting.