Oral cancer can affect the lips, gums, cheek-lining, tongue and hard or soft palates inside the mouth. The American Cancer Society
estimates 35,720 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2009, and that 7,600 people will die from the disease. Using tobacco and alcohol are risk factors in developing oral cancer, but approximately 25 percent of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors.
Regular dental examinations are essential in catching and treating oral cancer, so be sure to visit your dentist regularly.
Signs of oral cancer include:
-A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
-A color change of the oral tissues.
-A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area.
-Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
-Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
-A change in the way the teeth fit together.