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Oral and throat cancer, what you need to know.

Cancer can develop in and around the mouth or in the throat. Cancer that develops on the lips, in front of the mouth, under the tongue or on the inside of the mouth is considered oral cancer. Cancer that forms in the back of the mouth, including throat, back of the tongue, roof of mouth and tonsils is called oropharyngeal cancer. Knowing what puts you at risk and recognizing the signs are important ways to help you avoid or spot the disease early.





What puts individuals at risk?

  • Tobacco use-including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, vaping.
  • Heavy alcohol use (more than four drinks per day)
  • Prolonged sun exposure- Excessive and unprotected exposure to the sun is linked with cancer in the lip area.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV), research shows that infection with the HPV viruis is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer. In recent years, HPV- related oropharyngeal cancer in the tonsils and the base of the tongue has become more common.
  • Men are more likely to develop oral and oropharyngeal cancer than women.
  • Individuals over the age of 45 have an increased risk for oral cancer, although can develop at any age.
  • Individuals with poor oral hygiene or poor dental care have a greater risk of developing oral and orophayngeal cancer. Poorly fitting dentures, especially in patients who smoke and drink alcohol may increase chances.
  • Poor diet and nutrition- a diet lacking fruits and vegetables and vitamins may increase the risk of these cancers. 
  • Weakened immune system. 

As we approach the end of the year, you may have unused benefits remaining that will expire by December 31st. Don't forget to scheduled an appointment for your routine oral dental exam

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What to watch for?

You know your body better than anyone. If you have any concerns at all we would recommended you call us for an oral exam and check up.

  • Sores in your mouth that does not heal.
  • Red of white patched in the mouth that does not heal.
  • Any pain, tenderness or numbness on the lips or in the mouth.
  • Any lump or swelling.
  • A rough, crusty area on the lips.
  • A cough or sore throat that won’t go away.
  • Earaches.
  • Trouble opening your mouth fully.

How to protect yourself?

Here are a couple of tips to help limit the risk of developing oral or oropharnygeal cancer:

  • Avoid tobacco and smoking.
  • Limit use of alcohol.
  • Avoid using alcohol and tobacco together.
  • Do oral checks at home to see if you notice anything unusual.
  • Avoid spending long hours in sun, use lip sunscreen as well.

We recommend our patients to visit our office for periodic cleanings and  oral exams, so we can monitor their oral health and alert them if we notice unusual changes. Watch for any signs or symptoms. Oral cancer is the easiest to beat when treated early.

Call our office if you have any questions or concerns or to book your routine  hygiene visit and exam.

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