signs and symptoms of oral cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Did you know that your dentist might be the first one to spot the signs of oral cancer? Your dental health and your overall health go hand in hand. April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and the team at Sunrise Dental wants to help bring more awareness of this disease to our community. 

How common is oral cancer?

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 54,000 Americans will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year. Because oral cancer has such a high fatality rate—one person dies from oral cancer every hour in the United States—early detection could save your life.

Scheduling regular oral cancer screenings and dental checkups is the best way to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages. Early detection and treatment can help prevent many of the negative effects of this horrible disease. We encourage our patients to tell us about any possible symptoms, especially if they might already be at risk.

Who is at risk for oral cancer?

Oral cancer cases are on the rise in the 25-45 age group. Even young people can be at risk for oral cancer, depending on their lifestyle and genetics. Tobacco use, as well as heavy alcohol consumption, have both been linked to oral cancers in the front of the mouth.

People who have contracted HPV-16 are also at high risk for oral cancers. This virus frequently causes cancer in the oropharynx, or the back of the mouth, usually in the tonsils or the base of the tongue. People with weakened immune systems or immune deficiencies have the highest risk.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

Symptoms of oral cancer vary widely and are often difficult to detect. Scheduling an oral cancer screening is the best way to spot the warning signs. A medical professional will be able to use a blue light to look deeper into your mouth and throat to spot any tissue changes.

Some of the symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A sore in your mouth that won’t go away
  • Lumps or “thick” spots
  • White or red patches
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing and swallowing
  • Jaw swelling and difficulty moving your jaw
  • Ear or throat pain
  • Numbness in your mouth and tongue

Free Oral Cancer Screenings

Sunrise Dental will be hosting free oral cancer screenings in our office from 8:00am to 12:00pm on April 30, 2021. We are located at 7505 West Deer Valley Road, Suite 100 in Peoria, Arizona. Although we will accept walk-ins, appointments are preferred! Call 623-487-4870 today to schedule your free oral cancer screening.


Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash used under Creative Commons license for commercial use 4/20/2021.