Unlike many other types of cancer, oral cancer is on the rise.  In the U.S. 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.  Many people are not aware of the risks of oral cancer and don’t get screened periodically as recommended – at least every six-months.  With a first-year survival rate of 50%, it is important to detect oral cancer as early is possible.  Early on it is easier to treat.  Late stage oral cancer treatment can be painful and may increase the need for image-altering surgery.

Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dentist can give you a quick exam at any time.  Although it is hard to check yourself, the following is a list of signs your doctor will be looking for (symptoms may appear alone or in various combinations; symptoms do not confirm cancer, but may be a reason for further investigation):

  1. A sore, ulcer, or lump that lasts more than two weeks
  2. A sore that bleeds for two weeks or more
  3. Red/white patches
  4. Pain that lasts for two weeks or more
  5. Ear pain
  6. Enlarged thyroid or lymph node in the neck
  7. Sore throat that lasts for two weeks or more
  8. Hoarseness
  9. A burning sensation or numbness in the mouth
  10. Sudden skin rashes
  11. Swollen tongue
  12. Sudden appearance of skin rashes