When our Kelowna dental clinic held a free oral cancer screening test in April, we helped dozens of people detect signs of the disease with just a simple peek into their mouths using our VELscope light technology. Because oral cancer is treatable in early stages, we want to share with you the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so you can do your part to prevent this disease.
What is oral cancer?
Abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat can lead to oral cancer. According to the Canadian Dental Association, more than 1,000 people die every year from oral cancer, and an estimated 3,000 cases of oral cancer are reported every year.
Kelowna dentists are trained to spot early signs of oral cancer, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. Fortunately, oral cancer can be treated when it’s caught early. In between dental appointments, though, you can do your part by looking out for the signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer:
- Red or white patches on your lips, tongue or in your mouth
- Lumps, sores or other changes in the texture of your mouth tissue
- Numbness or bleeding in the mouth
- Changes in taste, difficulty swallowing1
How is oral cancer treated?
Your dentist could recommend a range of oral cancer treatments that might start with a biopsy, X-rays, ultra-sounds and lead to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Ways to prevent oral cancer:
- Eat well. A healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruits can reduce your risk of oral cancer.
- Stop smoking. The use of tobacco products, including chew, increases your chances of getting oral cancer, so ask your dentist or physician about aids and medication to help you quite.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Studies show drinking alcohol, particularly in combination with tobacco use, substantially increases your risk of oral cancer.
- Stay out of the sun. Your lips and mouth are at risk of sun cancer too. If you’re going to be in direct sunlight, be sure to use lip balms with an SPF of 10 or more.
Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!
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