Over 45,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Although most are related to smoking and/or alcohol abuse, these cancers can develop without either factor present.
Oral cancers can spread quickly, and, unless caught early, treatment can result in disfigurement of the face and jaw. Once it has spread, your chance of surviving beyond 5-years drops to 39%. If it remains localized, the 5-year survival rate remains high at 84%. That is why I do an oral cancer exam as part of every dental check up.
You should always tell me if you notice any persistent changes in your mouth or throat, such as growths, sores, swelling or numbness, or if you have difficulty eating or swallowing. Don’t ignore what you think is unimportant; oral cancer must be caught early.