Oral cancer isn’t something most people want to think about, but nearly 4,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth or throat this year. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 1,200 Canadians will die from oral cavity cancer in the next 12 months. In fact, the five-year survival rate of people diagnosed with oral cancer is less than 60 percent.
An oral cancer screening could save your life. Dr. Scott Allen, a top orthodontist in Centertown, Ottawa, specializes in examinations to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. The goal is to detect mouth cancer at an early stage, when there is a higher probability of a cure.
Dr. Scott Allen routinely provides cancer screening during regular dental visits for patients in Centertown, Ottawa. If a problem spot is found, he may do additional tests to identify areas of abnormal cells.
Oral cancer can affect your lips, cheek lining, gums, tongue, the floor of your mouth beneath your tongue, the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth, your tonsils and your throat. Thirty percent of oral cancer originates in the tongue, 17 percent in the lip and 14 percent in the floor of the mouth, according to a National Cancer Institute report.
Dr. Scott Allen tells people to make regular dental appointments to catch early signs of cancer. Patients in Centertown, Ottawa, also should consult a dentist if they notice a number of symptoms that may indicate the presence of cancer in the mouth or throat.
A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away or new red or white patches are warning signs. Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips are common symptoms.
Dr. Scott Allen warns to look for lumps, thickening, rough spots or crusts and eroded areas in the mouth. Patients could notice difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue or jaw. A shift in the way your teeth fit together also could be a precancerous sign.
Several factors can contribute to the development of oral cancer, according to Dr. Scott Allen. Historically, 75 percent of oral cancer cases are related to tobacco and alcohol use. Recent research also has linked the HPV16 virus, which is transmitted sexually, to a number of cases in people under the age of 50.
Treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Cancer survival correlates with stage, which makes early detection important, according to the Canadian Dental Association.
Dr. Scott Allen asks patients in Centertown, Ottawa, to make dental appointments every six months to help catch any early signs of oral cancer.