Current research and statistics show that oral cancer can be influenced by a number of common factors. Alcohol and tobacco have been the most common factors, but these are not the only factors known to influence this deadly condition. Poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, chronic infections, and genetics can also increase your risk for oral cancer. As we age, our risk for oral cancer increases, with studies indicating the greatest risk to be for adults over the age of 40.
In addition to the known risk factors, studies indicate that as many as 25% of oral cancer victims have no known risk factors at all. Fortunately, when cancers of the mouth, lips, and face are identified and treated in the early stages, the chances for a full recovery are quite high.
An oral cancer examination can be performed by our experienced oral surgeons, but you can also learn to check yourself for the signs of cancer:
- Leukoplakia (white spots or patches on the soft tissues)
- Erythroplakia (red spots or patches on the soft tissues)
- Erythroleukoplakia (red and white spots or patches on the soft tissues)
- A sore that will not heal or bleeds easily
- Thick tissue or a lump under the skin
- Chronic hoarseness or persistent sore throat
- Trouble with swallowing or chewing
- A lump or bump in the neck or throat
If you have discovered one or more of the previously mentioned symptoms, you should consult an oral and maxillofacial surgeon right away. A suspicious lesion, lump, or bump can be biopsied to determine the exact cause. For a biopsy, a few cells from the suspicious area will be delivered to a pathology laboratory where it will be studied under a microscope. Based upon the laboratory report, our surgeons will explain your diagnosis as well as develop a specific treatment plan if necessary.
Don’t ignore the presence of suspicious sores, lumps or bumps. If you have discovered a suspicious lesion, no matter how small, schedule an appointment with our team today for a more thorough exam.