No one likes to hear the word “cancer”. Oral cancer, or mouth cancer, can be especially devastating because the surgeries, radiation/chemotherapy, and other forms of treatment are typically visible on the face and neck.
Oral cancer can be fatal. According to American Cancer Society statistics, more than 36,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2010, and almost 8,000 deaths were directly attributed to mouth cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) estimates that more than $3 billion is spent annually in the United States to treat head and neck cancers.
Think about how much goes into, or comes out of, your mouth on a daily basis. Every single nutrient we derive from food/drink, our supplements and vitamins, any medication, and yes…tobacco, alcohol, anything else we ingest that we know we shouldn’t. Your mouth is responsible for delivering anything it touches to the rest of your body, which is why oral cancer needs to be diagnosed quickly as it can spread quickly.
THERE ARE SOME RISKS THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED:
- Tobacco. Did you know that 90% of all oral cancer cases can be contributed to tobacco use in some form or another (according to the American Cancer Society)? This includes all varieties – cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.
- Age and Gender. It’s been discovered that men are 2x as likely as women to develop oral cancer, especially once they turn age 35. In fact, the American Cancer Society shows that half of all mouth cancer patients are age 62 and above.
- Other risk factors include: frequent and prolonged sun exposure, poor eating habits, HPV (human papilloma virus), and a family history of cancer.
WHAT ARE SOME EARLY SIGNS OF MOUTH CANCER?
According to CancerCenter.com, the warning signs of oral cancer are:
- Persistent mouth sore: A sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer
- Pain: Persistent mouth pain is another common oral cancer sign
- A lump or thickening in the cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
- Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
- Loosening of the teeth
- Pain in the teeth or jaw
- Voice changes
- A lump in the neck
- Weight loss
- Persistent bad breath