Nearly 39,500 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth or throat this year. According to the American Cancer Society, 7,500 Americans are expected to die from oral cavity cancer in the next 12 months. The five-year survival rate of people diagnosed with oral cancer is less than 60 percent.
Screenings for oral cancer save lives. Dr. William Whittle, a top doctor in Fort Worth, Texas, specializes in examinations to discover signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. Detecting mouth cancer at an early stage results in a higher probability of a cure.
Dr. Whittle includes a routine cancer screening during his regular dental visits for patients in Fort Worth, Texas. If problem spot are present, additional tests may be needed to identify abnormal cells.
Your lips, cheek lining, gums, tongue, the floor of your mouth beneath your tongue, the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth, your tonsils and your throat all can be affected by oral cancer. According to a National Cancer Institute study, 30 percent of oral cancer starts in the tongue, 17 percent in the lip and 14 percent in the floor of the mouth.
Dr. William Whittle recommends regular dental examinations to catch early signs of cancer. Patients in Fort Worth, Texas, also should consult a dentist if they discover symptoms that may indicate the presence of cancer in the mouth or throat.
A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away or new red or white patches are early signs. Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips also are common symptom.
Dr. William Whittle tells patients to be on the lookout for lumps, rough spots, thickening or crusts and eroded areas in the mouth. Patients might have difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue or jaw. A change in the way the teeth fit together could be an early sign of cancer.
Dr. Whittle said several factors can contribute to the development of oral cancer. Research indicates that 75 percent of oral cancer cases are related to tobacco and alcohol use. New studies also has linked HPV16, a sexually transmitted virus, to a number of cases in people younger than the age of 50.
Survival correlates with stage, and early cancer detection important. Common forms of treatment include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Dr. William Whittle recommends patients in Fort Worth, Texas, make dental appointments every six months to help catch any early signs of oral cancer.