Twice this year we have found oral cancer in our office during routine exams. This is scary. When I was in dental school, we were told that we would find one or two cancerous areas in a thirty year career. Part of our job is to examine your mouth to rule out oral cancer. It most often shows up on the side of the tongue and looks like a harmless white or red patch. It is not harmless. Fifty percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer are dead within five years. Over 40,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed yearly. This is mostly because by the time it is diagnosed, it has already spread and is difficult to treat. Of course, tobacco, alcohol and HPV are some know causes of oral cancer but you can also have cancer in the mouth that has spread from other areas. The xray above shows a cancer that spread from the patient's kidney. Dr. Shelton took this xray after the patient complained of pain and numbness of the lip on the left side of his face. Notice the size of the cancer and how it has destroyed the bone of the jaw. Luckily, this patient can be treated with radiation and chemo. Others are not so lucky. Go to your dentist and ask if they do a cancer screening. Insist on it. Or, come to Norwood Dental Care and let us take care of it. Stop smoking and dipping. Drink alcohol in moderation. Take care of yourself. You are the only YOU you have.
Norwood Dental Clinic is located in Norwood, NC.
*all images are used with permission of our patients. names have been changed to maintain our patient's privacy.*