What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a common cancer that causes lesions on the gums, lips, tongue, or lining of the mouth. Each year, 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer. If caught in its early stages, oral cancers are highly treatable, and most patients are given a good prognosis. However, oral cancer often goes undetected and metastasizes, or spreads, to other tissues and organs. Advanced oral cancers claim about 7,000 lives each year in the United States.
What are some signs of oral cancer?
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
- Discoloration of the soft tissue in the mouth
- Red or white patches on the tongue, lips, and bottom of the mouth
- Raised, hardened lesions that are gray or white in appearance
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat
- Thickening of the oral tissue
- Lumps in the facial and oral areas
- Dramatic weight loss
- Pain in the jaw, neck, or shoulders
Between regular checkups and oral cancer screenings, check yourself for these symptoms of oral cancer, and tell Dr. Gross immediately if you find a potential concern.
What are some risk factors that contribute to oral cancer?
- Smoking or other tobacco use
- Alcohol consumption
- Excessive sun exposure
- Family history
How can I protect myself against oral cancers?
Be mindful of the risk factors that contribute to oral cancer and correct any behaviors associated with them. For instance, stop smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in excess. Additionally, ask questions about your family’s history with oral cancer to know your genetic risks.
The American Dental Association recommends screenings for oral cancer at six-month checkups, regardless of the patient’s age. Following this suggestion, you should schedule regular checkups with Dr. Gross. Between checkups, if you notice changes in your oral tissues, such as mouth ulcers that don’t heal within a few weeks come in for an oral cancer exam. The examination is quick and does not cause any discomfort. Dr. Gross will check the outside of your throat, face, and mouth for hard lumps, and he’ll assess your tongue and soft oral tissues for white or red lesions.
Dr. Gross may also use special light technology to illuminate suspicious sub-surface tissue abnormalities that are not visible to the naked eye. This technology helps us diagnose oral cancer in its earliest stages, which can ultimately save the life of the patient. If Dr. Gross suspects you might have oral cancer, he will perform a biopsy of the suspicious region. The biopsy will then be reviewed at a lab. Depending on the results of the biopsy, additional treatment may be necessary.
Free Corporate Oral Cancer Screenings:
To ask questions about free corporate screening or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lewis Gross, contact our Tribeca holistic dentist office at (212) 732-2200. We are currently accepting new patients. For your convenience, new patient forms are available for download on our website.
We offer on-site screening at your company. Contact your Human Resources Department to have this service at your company.