Oral cancer is commonly caused by cigarette smoking, alcohol, or HPV (human papillomavirus). The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be roughly 36,000 new cases in 2013. Many more will be diagnosed with dysplasia (otherwise known as pre-cancer). Survival rates are significantly higher if the cancer is caught early, so it is important that you have regular oral cancer screenings.
You should have thorough dental check ups at least every six months. Basic oral cancer screenings are painless and are quick and easy. Ensure that your dentist does a thorough examination and talk through any concerns or questions you may have.
In addition, it is also advisable to use a small dental mirror to monitor any changes inside your mouth. If you see any lumps or other abnormalities visit your dental practitioner at the earliest opportunity. Other symptoms include sore throats that do not go away, difficulty swallowing and pain or tenderness in the mouth or lips.