The early bird, as always, catches the fattest of worms. This catch phrase rings true when it comes to treating oral cancer. Every year, there are roughly 35,000 people in America diagnosed with oral cancer. Despite its high incidence in the population, it is considered as one of the least understood condition amongst the general public today. At the Pennsylvania Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Associates, Dr. Dachowski emphasizes the importance of early detection of oral cancer. After all, early detection has been found to boost up to 80 to 90 percent of survival rates amongst those diagnosed with the condition.

Detecting Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is rarely detected during its earliest stages as their are no symptoms such as pain in other forms of cancer. Hence, the importance of being vigilant the moment you notice even slight changes in your oral health such a swelling, discoloration, lumps, and ulcers that have been there longer for 2 to 3 weeks.

Specifically, signs and symptoms to be aware of include the following:

  • mouth ulcer which bleeds easily

  • white or red patches in the mouth

  • numbness anywhere in the mouth

  • pain while chewing and swallowing

  • difficulty moving your tongue

  • changes in speech

  • swollen lymph nodes

  • altered taste

  • sudden change in the way your teeth fit together while biting

Minimizing Your Risk

One of the most common myths behind oral cancer is that you have to be a smoker to actually have it. This is actually untrue. It can affect anyone, even those who lead fairly healthy lifestyles.

While you may have no complete control of whether you’ll develop oral cancer or not, you can actually minimize your risks by being mindful of the following risk factors:

  • Alcohol and Tobacco Use – Heavy alcohol and tobacco use has been associated with the occurrence of oral cancer. The dehydrating effect of alcohol actually enhances the ability of the carcinogens found in tobacco to penetrate the tissues in your mouth. In addition, the nutritional deficiencies associated with alcohol use could lead your body into producing less of antioxidants to prevent cancer formation.

  • Prolonged Sun Exposure – Prolonged sun exposure has also been associated with squamous cell carcinoma which could appear in parts of your body which are frequently exposed to sunlight, including your lips.

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)– This sexually transmitted virus is now a growing cause of oral cancer worldwide.

Early Detection of Oral Cancer in Pennsylvania

Self-assessment and a regular visit to your Pennsylvania oral surgery specialists will help in the early detection of oral cancer. For more information on oral cancer and how to reduce your risks, you can visit our clinics at the Holy Redeemer Hospital and Heritage Gateway Building. Call  us at 215.938.7860 or 267.247.5489 for an initial consultation. You can also opt to fill out this appointment request form. We look forward to your visit!