According to an estimate from the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with some form of oral cancer. Oral cancer includes tongue cancer and cancer of the lips, gums, or cheek. Risk factors for developing cancer of the mouth, tongue and throat include tobacco use, alcohol consumption and exposure to the HPV-16 virus.
While these cancers are deadly, fortunately, they are treatable if caught early. Most deaths from oral cancer are a result of diagnosing a lesion too late.
Dr. Parham routinely performs oral cancer screening as part of his comprehensive periodontal exam. We do thorough checks of your entire mouth and assess your risk for developing oral cancer based on your health history and reported substance use. If Dr. Parham finds anything suspicious, he may elect to perform a biopsy and send it to a pathology lab for diagnosis.
If a biopsy is necessary, you will be glad to know that biopsies are not painful, they take only a little time and are relatively inexpensive. A proper diagnosis and ensuring that you are cancer-free are well worth it.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
- A sore or discolored (usually white or red) area that does not heal within 14 days
- A lump or mass inside the mouth or neck
- Pain or difficulty swallowing, chewing or speaking
- Hoarseness that lasts a long time
- Numbness in the facial/oral region
- Persistent earache on one side
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
- The use of smokeless tobacco or herbal substitutes, especially in combination with alcohol
- Gender (oral cancer occurs almost twice as frequently in men as in women)
- Poor nutrition
- HPV-16 exposure
Am I at risk for oral cancer?
If you exhibit any of the symptoms of oral cancer, please Call (706) 278-5344 and schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Parham. We would be happy to provide a comprehensive cancer screening to ensure your health and peace of mind.