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Signs of Oral Cancer

The American Cancer Society noted that in 2020, an estimated 53,260 would get oral cancer, and it is more than twice as common in men as in women. While the death rate has decreased over the last 30 years for these cancers, they estimate that 10,750 will die from oral cancers. Oral cancers are most often found on the tongue, the tonsils, the gums, and the mouth floor. The average age for someone diagnosed with oral cancer is 62, but it can occur in people much younger based on family history and tobacco habits.

These types of cancer have a high survival rate when caught early, and we at Great Neck Dental Care pledge to check our patients at each routine exam for signs of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Exams

During our exams, we will perform a soft tissue exam, helping us to look for signs of oral cancer. While we perform these soft tissue exams, we will feel for abnormalities or lumps that may be a sign of something more serious. If your family has a history of oral cancer, you chew tobacco or are a smoker, or have been diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV), you can check for signs of oral cancer by performing self-exams. Using a flashlight or other bright light, look around inside your mouth to monitor any symptoms or signs of oral cancer. You can also feel around your neck area and jawbone for any abnormalities or lumps. Make an appointment immediately with a dentist if you find something to have it examined by a professional.

Oral Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Signs of oral cancer can include:

  • Signs of oral cancer can include:
  • Gray or white patches around and under the tongue
  • Gray or white patches near your throat or on the inside of your cheek
  • Growths on the roof of your mouth, lips, or gums
  • Lumps around your neck area or jawbone

Symptoms of oral cancer can include:

  • Swollen lumps on the gums, lips, or other areas of your mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or pain and tenderness
  • Persistent sores that bleed easily and don’t heal quickly
  • Soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarse voice, or even a change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A difference in how your dentures fit
  • Dramatic weight loss

Checking for Oral Cancer

It’s important to let your dentist know if your family’s medical history includes oral cancers, and if you, yourself are a smoker or if you chew tobacco. Doing so will allow your dentist to be aware of what to look for during your exams.

Seeing your dentist regularly and being sure to monitor yourself between your appointments, you can keep yourself safe, and your dentist can catch signs of oral cancer before it’s too severe. If it’s been a while since your last dental exam, contact us today!

Dr. Julie Liberman DDS of Great Neck Dental Care NY proudly serves patients of all ages in the Great Neck area, spanning New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Douglaston, Jericho, Roslyn, etc. Book your checkup today to see how you can monitor for oral cancer and maintain good dental health.

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Never been happier with a dentist before! The professionalism, individual care, sparkling clean office, and the range of services are amazing. Highly recommended! 

-Dave K., From a Yelp Review
Merrick, NY