Oral cancer is quite rare but has increased in prevalence in recent years. The term covers several types : mouth cancer, tongue cancer and tonsil cancer.
Throat cancer is often painless, with few or no symptoms or discomfort. And therefore may not be detected until dangerously advanced.
Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. ~ The Oral Cancer Foundation
Dentists and hygienists are trained to look out for abnormalities or signs of oral cancer and will do so as part of your check-ups. It's easy to put dental exams low on the list and not go in for years, until a problem arises. However, prevention and early detection are key to keeping your natural teeth and maintaining your health.
In the meantime, if you experience any of the following symptoms please seek medical advice from your dentist or physician.
- Prolonged sore throat
- Enduring white or red patches of tissue
- Canker like ulcers which are small and hard and do not heal within 14 days
- Lump or mass in mouth or neck
- Pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking or chewing
- Long lasting hoarseness beyond the usual length during a cough or cold
- Numbness in the oral or facial region
- Persistent ear ache