There are approximately 34000 estimated new cases of oral cancer every year and about half those diagnosed will not survive more than five years, but when diagnosed early, the survival rate can be as high as 80 to 90 percent. However, only 34 percent of oral cancers are found early.
In the early stages oral cancer is often painless and it may not be obvious. That is what makes it a very dangerous disease. Early indicators are: Red and /or white discoloration of the soft tissues of the mouth and any sores that does not heal within two weeks. Advanced signs of oral cancer are a sensation that something is stuck in your throat and a hoarseness which last for a long time. Numbness of the mouth and difficulty for moving the jaw, tongue or to swallow are also indications of oral cancer. For denture wearers a sore under a denture which even adjustment still not heal needs to be checked by a qualified professional.
The largest contributors to the development of oral and mouth cancer are the use of tobacco and alcohol. Not using tobacco is the single most important thing you can do to avoid oral cancers. Other risk factors include excessive unprotected exposure to sun which increases likelihood of lip cancers. Use at least SPF 30 sunblock on your lips. A diet that does not contain the protective nutrient of fruits and vegetables increases the risk of developing a variety of illnesses including oral cancer.
Oral cancer is more prevalent in men and thought it is due to life style issues. HPV viral infection is the most likely contributor to the oral cancer among non smokers. Although testing for the virus at the time of cervical examinations and PAP smears is becoming more common individuals carrying this virus are not likely to know that they have it, as there are no preventative of avoidance measure that will prevent sexual transmission of this virus. However, limiting the number of sexual partners decreases your risk of contracting the virus.
Avoiding the risk factors and early detection are the name of the game. Get an annual screening. Dentists by the use of new technology like VELscope which works by illuminating oral tissue with a beam of blue light set to a specific bandwidth can detect oral cancer tissues in early stages.Â