Oral Cancer

Oral cancer are cancers of the mouth and the back of the throat. They can develop on the tongue, the tissue lining the mouth and gums, under the tongue, at the base of the tongue, and in the back of the mouth. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 45 and affects twice as many men as women. Most oral cancers are related to tobacco and/or alcohol use, or infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV). If it is caught early enough it can be treated successfully. For help finding a local dental professional, search for a dentist near you

Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, schedule a visit with your dentist:

  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Development of red and white patches in the mouth
  • Swelling of lips, gums or other areas inside the mouth
  • Lumps or bumps inside the mouth
  • Rough spots inside the mouth
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Pain/tenderness in the face, neck or mouth
  • Persistent bleeding sores
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Dramatic weight loss

Potential Causes of Oral Cancer

Factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer include:

  • HPV infection
  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use
  • Family history of cancer
  • Age 
  • Gender

Why Should I Get An Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer can spread quickly, making early detection extremely important. An oral cancer examination can detect early signs of cancer. It is a fast examination that our dentists can perform during your regular dental check-up. For help finding a local dental professional, search for a dentist near you

Possible Treatments for Oral Cancer

When oral cancer is detected early, it can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. Oral cancer that is further along when it is diagnosed may use a combination of treatments.

The choice of treatment depends on your general health, where in your mouth the cancer began, the size and type of the tumor, and whether it has spread. 

Who Can Diagnose Oral Cancer?

The first step to getting a diagnosis is to schedule a screening with your dentist. Visit your dentist regularly—checking for signs of oral cancer is part of a regular dental checkup. Your dentist will examine your lips and inside your mouth. and check your gums, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue. Your dentist will also look at the roof and floor of your mouth. You may be referred to a specialist and other healthcare professional. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.