We live in an age where information is abundant and easily accessible, but there are so many myths to sort through to get to the facts on some subject matters. For example, there are misconceptions about a serious oral health condition we’d like to clear up for you. Let’s bust myths and learn the signs and risk factors of this condition.
Oral Cancer Myths
Myth #1: Only smokers get oral cancer.
Fact: Tobacco use is one of the primary oral cancer risk factors, but people who’ve never smoked also get oral cancer.
Myth # 2: Young people don’t get oral cancer.
Fact: Because of the link between HPV and oral cancer, many young adults are getting the disease.
Myth #3: Oral cancer is rare.
Fact: According to World Cancer Research Fund International, lip and oral cancers ranked 16th among common cancers worldwide for 2018.
Myth #4: Oral cancer is easy to identify.
Fact: Oral cancer can go undetected in areas such as the tonsils, lymph nodes, and the base of the tongue.
Myth #5: Only high-risk patients need oral cancer screening.
Fact: Oral cancer screenings are part of a routine dental exam. Early detection is crucial for the best treatment outcomes.
Signs of Oral Cancer
- White or red patches on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth
- Hoarseness that doesn’t go away
- Permanent teeth become loose
- Ear pain
- Difficult or painful to swallow or chew
- Lump or growth inside your mouth
- Persistent smelly breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Sores in the mouth that don’t go away
Lower Your Risk Factors
- Don’t use tobacco products
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Protect yourself from HPV
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits
- Limit your sun exposure
- Get regular dental exams
Receiving regular oral cancer screenings help to detect the disease in its beginning stages. Early detection increases the chance of good treatment outcomes. Are you or anyone you know experiencing oral cancer symptoms? How long has it been since your last exam? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Sonny Afshar