There is a common misconception that only certain types of people can develop oral cancer and that other demographics do not develop this type of cancer and should not be concerned. That is a very dangerous misconception and could be deadly. The fact is, oral cancer can strike anyone, even seemingly-healthy young individuals.
While it is true that older people, men, and people who use tobacco products or drink alcohol are at an elevated risk of developing oral cancer, there is another growing group of people who are getting oral cancer. This spike of oral cancer is happening with younger people who do not use tobacco or alcohol, and it is caused by the HPV virus. Anyone can develop oral cancer.
Oral cancer can be hard to detect on your own, which is why regular appointments with us are so important. It can be in a hard-to-see area, or it may be hidden when talking about oral cancer things to watch out for include a red or bleeding sore in the mouth that does not want to heal, red or white patches in the mouth, or a swollen mass or growth in the mouth. Oral cancer can also lead to a sore throat, a feeling of having something stuck in the throat, or the development of a raspy voice.
During an oral cancer screening, we will start by taking your medical history. If you have any areas of concern, please let us know at this point, but we will check everything in your mouth carefully regardless of if you have any complaints. We will thoroughly assess not only your mouth but your throat and your jaw. We will check for any signs of oral cancer on your gums, tongue, soft palate, tonsils, and your throat. If we find anything that makes us suspicious, we may advise that you come back in a week or two to see if the area has changed at all during that time.
We may also take a sample of the area of concern. This sample will go to our lab for a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. If the sample comes back as cancerous, we can discuss your treatment options with you and get you started on treatment immediately. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to remove oral cancer.
To learn more about oral cancer, or to set up an appointment for an oral cancer screening with us here at El Paso Modern Dentistry, please give us a call today at (915) 213-0055!