In the U.S., it is estimated that about 91,000 people are living with oral cancer. Oral cancer, also called mouth cancer, is any cancerous tissue growth located in the oral cavity. Because oral cancer can spread quickly, early detection is very important. Dr. Garrett Hayashi is one of the finest dentists in Honolulu, HI. He offers oral cancer screenings to his patients. Here are five early warning signs of oral cancer.
1. Red or White Patches
An abnormal looking patch in the mouth could be a sign of oral cancer or precancerous changes. Red patches are called erythroplakia. White patches are called leukoplakia. These patches are not cancer, but if left untreated they may lead to cancer. Although less common than leukoplakia, erythroplakia has a much greater potential for becoming cancerous.
2. Persistent Sores
Another early warning sign of oral cancer are persistent sores on the neck, face, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within a few weeks. Canker sores are very painful, but they are not cancerous. Canker sores usually heal within a few weeks, so any spot or sore that lasts longer needs an evaluation by a dentist.
3. Abnormal Lumps
A lump on the lip or in the throat, mouth, or neck area is a common symptom of oral cancer. A persistent lump on the gums needs a professional evaluation. Such a lump may be caused by a tooth or gum abscess or by irritation. But, because any abnormal lumps in the mouth can be cancer, the growths should be checked by a dental professional without delay.
4. Chronic Sore Throat
Sore throats can be annoying and painful. Viruses that cause the flu and common cold cause most sore throats. Thankfully, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and go away without treatment. However, a sore throat that does not go away could be a sign of oral cancer.
5. Eating Problems
Oral cancer can sometimes cause difficulty chewing and swallowing. Chewing problems can result from changes to the mouth caused by oral cancer. It may also occur after cancer treatment. A common symptom of esophageal cancer is a difficulty swallowing. You may feel like food is stuck in your chest or throat or you're choking on food.
Oral cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly. You can do a lot to protect yourself from oral cancer, or catch it early so it can be treated effectively. Call Dr. Garrett Hayashi at 808-536-5090 today to schedule your oral cancer screening in Honolulu, HI. A simple oral cancer screening in Honolulu, HI, could save your life!