Can oral cancer be detected by a dentist?
Yes. This year alone, more than 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. Approximately 75% of these cases are attributed to the use of smoked and smokeless tobacco.
Your regular dental check-up is an excellent opportunity to check the entire mouth for signs of cancer. In the early stages, oral cancer is treatable in up to 90% of cases. If the cancer goes undetected, it can spread to other parts of the body and become more difficult to treat.
It is important to be aware of the signs or symptoms of oral cancer. See your dentist or physician if any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks – sore, lump or thick patch in your mouth, lip, or throat; white or red patch in your mouth; a feeling something is caught in your throat; difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue; numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth.