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Important Oral Cancer Information

Definition Facts Symptoms
Treatment Options Prevention Resources & Links
Schedule Your Screening Now

Definition Of Oral Cancer

Mark A. Johnson Family Dentistry Oral Cancer Ad

Mark A. Johnson Family Dentistry Ad
Winston-Salem Journal
July 2009

Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that affects the mouth. It can form in the lining of the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tongue, and lips. Oral cancer symptoms can often be the signs of other less serious illnesses, so it is important to consult your doctor or dentist if you are experiencing any of these changes in your oral health.

Gum disease, cavities, broken teeth, crowns or fillings, and poorly fitting dentures are all the results of poor dental care (a cause of oral cancer). Oral cancer treatment can worsen all of these dental problems. Regular dental care can help prevent oral cancer from starting or coming back. Be sure to help protect yourself against oral cancer by maintaining a good daily oral health routine at home and through regular visits to your dentist and hygienist.

During your annual dental check-up, Mark A. Johnson Family Dentistry will also screen for oral cancer. Those who use tobacco and/or alcohol products may receive a more in-depth screening based on their risk.

Facts About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is very deadly, and you may not even know you have it if you don't visit your dentist on a regular basis. These facts will explain how serious and deadly oral cancer is.

  1. Oral Cancer is a growing worldwide problem. There are over 481,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed every year.

    2. Every hour of every day someone dies from oral cancer in the United States alone.


    3. It is estimated that approxinately 35,000 Americans will develop oral cancer every year.


    4. More than 25% of the 30,000 Americans that develop oral cancer each year will die from it.


    5. Every year, more people die from oral cancer than cervical cancer or melanoma (a type of skin cancer).


    6. Of all the people diagnosed with oral cancer, only about half will survive more than five years.


    7. African Americans are 33% more likely to develop oral cancer than Caucasians; additionally, they have almost twice the mortality rate.


    8. Oral cancer can be highly curable if diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages.


    Your dentist and hygienist should be checking you for oral cancer at your regular
    dental checkups. Contact us today to set up your next appointment and screening.


Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

1. White and Red Patches in the Mouth or Lips:

A white or red patch inside the mouth or the lips are the most common symptom of oral cancer. These patches may also be a combination of red and white.

2. A Sore or Blister in Your Mouth :

A sore or blister in the mouth or on the lip that won't heal is a symptom of oral cancer. Sores that are reccurent or that last longer than two weeks warrant a trip to the doctor.

3. Difficulty Swallowing:

This symptom can include difficulty chewing, moving the jaw, speaking, or moving the tongue. This is a non-specific symptom of oral cancer and can be caused by many other conditions.

4. Earaches:

Frequent or persistent earaches need to be evaluated by a physician. An earache is usually indicative
of an infection. However, in certain cases, it can be a symptom of oral cancer.

5. Change in the Way Teeth Fit Together:

This can include dentures not fitting correctly. Oral cancer can also cause loose teeth.

6. Bleeding from the Mouth:

Report any oral bleeding to your dentist and doctor. Bleeding from the mouth can be caused by many things, but it is still a symptom of oral cancer and needs to be checked out.

Additional Signs & Symptoms:
Non-Healing Oral Sore(s) White Or Red Patches On Tongue, Gums Or Mouth
Persistent Lip, Mouth, Gum Or Tongue Sore(s) Mouth Bleeding
Lump(s) In Lip, Mouth Or On Tongue Mouth Or Ear Pain
Persistent Sore Throat Mouth Numbness
Difficulty Chewing &/Or Swallowing Pain While Chewing Or Swallowing
Swollen Jaw Denture Fitting Problems
Change In Voice Uncomfortable Dentures
Bleeding Lip, Mouth Or Tongue Sore Lip, Mouth Or Tongue
Fatigue Weight Loss
Loose Tooth (Or Teeth)

Remember that oral cancer is often asymptomatic in early stages;
so call us today for your screening.


Treatment Of Oral Cancer

Once the diagnosis of oral cancer has been determined and the cancer has been staged, treatment will ideally begin. Oral cancer treatment normally includes a variety of caretakers including: surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapy oncologists, dental practitioners, nutritionists, rehabilitation and restorative specialists. Depending upon which stage the cancer is in, the team will advise the patient. Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation or combinations are the usual courses of treatment.

For more detailed information, please visit: MedicineNet.com


Oral Cancer Prevention

To help prevent the occurrence of oral cancer:
  • Minimize or avoid smoking or other tobacco use.
  • Minimize or avoid alcohol use.
  • Practice good oral hygiene.
  • Have dental problems corrected.
  • Have the soft tissue of the mouth examined once a year. Many oral cancers are discovered by routine dental examination.


Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Resources

Looking for more information on cancer prevention, treatment or support?
If so, this list of cancer organizations and societies can help get you started.

American Dental Association (ADA) American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNS)
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS)

American Cancer Society (ACS)
American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
CancerCare Cancer Information and Counseling Line (CICL)
ChemoCare Gilda's Club Worldwide
Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) MedlinePlus: Oral Cancer
MedlinePlus: Head and Neck Cancer National Cancer Institute (NCI) Oral Cancer
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) The Cancer Project
The Oral Cancer Foundation






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