Oral cancer can affect the tongue, floor of mouth, palate, jaw, gums, throat, and lining of the cheeks.
The risk factors that can contribute to mouth and throat cancer include:
· Tobacco use
· Alcohol use
· Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted
· Repeated exposure to the sun (especially to the lips)
· Other possible factors such as genetics, medications, liver function, and diet
Your dentist and dental hygienist are often your first line of defense in the early detection of oral cancer. Early detection of mouth cancer has been shown to improve chances of a successful treatment outcome. It is recommended that each person performs a self exam at least once a month and visits their dentist on a regular schedule for an oral cancer screening.
Watch for these signs of oral cancer:
· Mouth sores that are not healing and easily bleed
· A hard, thick lump or spot
· A crusty or rough area
· Pain, tenderness, or numbness
· A change in your bite or in the alignment of your teeth
· White or red patches
· Hoarseness or a feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
· Sore throat
· Unexplained weight loss
· Persistent bad breath
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of oral cancer, or if you know that you are due for a professional evaluation, call us to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Patterson will review your health history and use her trained eyes to perform a systematic visual and tactile examination of the soft tissues of your mouth.
If areas of concern are identified, Dr. Patterson will take appropriate action to determine if further investigation, such as biopsy, is indicated. Feel free to contact our office to schedule your appointment – (303) 722-9504.