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Oral Cancer: A Look at the Risk Factors and Symptoms

According to statistics, there are more than 400,000 cases of oral cancer every year around the world. Nevertheless, this is one form of cancer that many patients do not know a lot about. It is important to get familiar with the risks of oral cancer and the signs and symptoms of the condition that can be so easy to miss.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

There are a lot of established risk factors for oral cancer. If you have any of these risk factors, it is best to be vigilant about watching for symptoms and proper screenings.

  • Being male; more men than women are diagnosed with oral cancer
  • People of African American descent may be more at risk
  • More common among people beyond 45 years of age and risk increases with age
  • Tobacco and alcohol use are risk factors
  • High levels of sun exposure to the lips and mouth
  • History of another form of cancer
  • Poor oral hygiene habits

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

On the surface, the most common symptoms of oral cancer include pain or ulcers in the mouth that won’t subside on their own. However, there can be several other signs of oral cancer that are sometimes easy to miss, such as:

  • White patches on the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in how dentures fit with no explanation
  • Thickening of the cheek tissue
  • Loss of oral sensation
  • Oral bleeding
  • Pain with swallowing or speaking
  • Earaches
  • Unexplained areas of swelling

How the Dentist Can Help

The dentist is more familiar with what the mouth should look like than perhaps any other trained medical professional. Therefore, they are often the first ones to point out what looks to be a symptom of oral cancer. Many dentists offer oral cancer screenings in their office, which entails going over your health history, determining your risks of the disease, and doing a thorough examination of the oral cavity.

Get an Oral Cancer Screening in Willowbrook, IL

Oral cancer can be dangerous, but when caught early, it is also a highly treatable condition. If you believe you may be at risk of oral cancer or there is something peculiar going on in your mouth that has you concerned, reach out to us at the Dentists of Hinsdale Lake for an appointment.