Dr. Kevin Postol and all of us at St. Louis Dentistry would like to take this opportunity to talk about oral cancer, the lives that are lost to it, and what it could mean for you and your family. Oral cancer is one of the only cancers that is actually becoming more common, and we want our Ballwin patients to know what it is and how to protect themselves.
Oral cancer refers to mouth cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, tonsil cancer, and a number of others. This year alone, more than 5,000 people will lose the battle to some form of oral cancer. Dr. Postol is teaming up with the entire healthcare community to beat this disease by teaching people everywhere about how to spot it and maintain low risk.
*This post is not intended to diagnose or treat oral cancer. Its purpose is simply to inform Ballwin residents. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have oral cancer, come see Dr. Postol as soon as possible.*
Oral cancer is a group of diseases that can affect your body in a number of different ways. In order to list all the symptoms and warning signs of each different type, we would need an entire website! So, to keep it convenient, here is a list of the most common ways oral cancer can affect you:
- You experience white or red patches on your lips, gums, tongue, or inside your cheeks
- You develop sores on your face, neck or mouth that bleed and won’t heal
- Your face, mouth and/or neck are numb or lose feeling
- You notice lumps, bumps, or swelling on your lips, tongue, gums, or within your cheeks
- You have difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
- Your throat is sore or feels as though something is stuck in the back of it
- You experience a persistent sore throat, or a hoarse or different-sounding voice
- You have pain in your ears
- You are losing weight abnormally fast
- You notice your teeth or dentures have shifted
Are You at Risk of Developing Oral Cancer?
As with the symptoms, the common risk factors for oral cancer are numerous, but there is something very important to understand before you start matching up risk factors and begin to panic. Even if most or all of these apply to you, it does not mean that you are doomed to have oral cancer. On the other hand, it is possible to develop oral cancer even if you don’t have any of the risk factors. Dr. Postol just wants you to know which conditions should have you seriously thinking about a consultation at St. Louis Dentistry. Here the most common risk factors associated with oral cancer:
- Tobacco use in all forms
- Excessive sun exposure
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cancer throughout family history
- Exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV)
How is Oral Cancer Treated?
If you find that the symptoms and risk factors are familiar to you or a loved one, talk to Dr. Postol as soon as you can. We at St. Louis Dentistry will give you a check-up and explore treatment options if cancer is detected. Most importantly, don’t delay! If you catch it early, the survival rate for oral cancer is much higher. Please don’t hesitate to contact St. Louis Dentistry with any questions or concerns. We care about your health and we want to keep your mouth safe!