Oral Cancer Awareness

Early oral cancer detection can happen at your dental check up!


You know your dentist is looking for cavities, but you may not realize your dentist can check for cancer at your visit too. Regular visits to your dentist can help you detect such cancers early. The American Cancer Society estimates that people with a new diagnosis of cancers of the mouth and pharynx will exceed 54,000 this year.

Plan to schedule a dental check-up and remember to ask about an oral cancer screening.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

  • A sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, moving jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Top 5 Risks for Oral Cancer

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Tobacco Use
    • Any type of tobacco use; smokeless tobacco (“chew”), hookah, pipe and cigarette smoking puts you at a higher risk for oral cancer.
  • Alcohol Use
    • Heavy drinking, an average of 2 drinks a day or more for men and one drink a day for women, increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Gender
    • Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer. Heavy drinking and tobacco use contribute to risk.
  • Age
    • Most people diagnosed with cancer are 55 and older, however, HPV related oral cancers are most often diagnosed in younger people.