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Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer that affects your mouth. It can develop on any tissue, including your gums, tongue, or lips. Early detection and treatment significantly improve outcomes. This year an estimated 54,0001 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed. Of those individuals, 43 percent will not survive longer than five years, and many who do survive suffer long-term problems, such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties with eating and speaking. The death rate associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers remains particularly high because the cancers routinely are discovered late in their development.

This April, here at the Dental Centers we are observing the 22nd Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month and strive to raise the public’s awareness and the dangers of oral cancer...

Some of the potential symptoms of oral cancer include:

• lesion or sore in your mouth or on your lips that doesn’t go away.

• A lump or mass in your mouth or on your lips that you can feel.

• A white or red patch on your tongue, gums, or the inside of your cheek.

• Persistent pain in your mouth.

• Unexplained bleeding in your mouth.

• Jaw swelling.

• Difficulty chewing.

• Areas of numbness in your mouth.

If oral cancer has spread to nearby tissues, you may also experience:

• Sore throat that doesn’t go away.

• Feeling like you have a lump in your throat.

• Hoarse voice.

• Painful swallowing.

• Difficulty swallowing.

• Ear pain.

• Unexplained weight loss.

• Swollen lymph nodes in your neck.

When oral cancer is found and treated while in its earlier stages, the 5-year survival rate greatly improves. A dentist typically looks and feels for signs of oral cancer during a routine dental checkup. The outlook for people with oral cancer is best when it’s found and treated early. As such, it’s important to not only get regular dental checkups but also to be aware of any unusual changes in your mouth.

If you notice something concerning, see a doctor or dentist. Call to schedule an appointment (417) 466-7196

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*Note: Dr. Collins & Associates are Missouri licensed General Dentists. They are not licensed in Missouri as specialists in the advertised dental specialties of Prosthetics or Orthodontics.  Implants are a specialty area not recognized by the ADA that require no specific educational training to advertise this service.