Spotting the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Spotting the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Posted by Allure Dental Care of Maple Lawn on Sep 1 2019, 12:04 AM

Spotting the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer develops in the tissues of your mouth and throat and can also afflict the tongue, tonsils, gums, and surrounding areas. Even though the death rate for oral cancer has significantly decreased in the past 30 years, it remains crucial to understand if you may be at risk. Early detection of oral cancer can result in quicker treatment and improve your chances of combating it. 

Most people have trouble noticing symptoms in the early stages of the disease, which is why it's essential to have an oral cancer screening conducted if you have any concerns. At Allure Dental Care of Maple Lawn, located in Fulton, Maryland, our dedicated dental professionals are equipped to provide you with quick and reliable results. 

Why should you be screened for oral cancer?

Like most other forms of cancer, part of treating it successfully involves an early diagnosis. Oral cancer is a disease that is triggered by the overgrowth and reproduction of cells in some regions of your mouth. Some of the most common areas that are affected by oral cancer include the cheeks, tongue, or tissue lining of the mouth and gums. 

If oral cancer has not spread to surrounding tissues, there is a 75% to 93% chance that the patient afflicted will have a five-year survival rate. Once cancer spreads to surrounding tissues, the survival rate decreases significantly. Treatment like radiation and chemotherapy have been known to be more effective in the initial stages of the disease. Cancer spreads to other areas as time moves on, especially if it continues to be left untreated. 

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

When you come in for a screening, Dr. Mahvash Zulfaghary or Dr. Zehra Asad will begin by looking at the tissues inside your mouth and checking for any abnormalities or changes. If anything out of the ordinary is recognized, one of our doctors will suggest a complete oral screening. 

The full testing consists of a special dye or light that is used to make concerning cell growths and mutations visible. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer vary by each individual's unique situation. Some of the most common signs of oral cancer include: 

  • Mouth sores
  • Persistent pain 
  • Swelling in your neck 
  • Red or white patches in your mouth 
  • Difficulty chewing and swelling 
  • Sore throat 
  • Recent weight loss 
  • Bad breath 
  • Painful bumps inside the mouth or cheek 
  • Bleeding ulcers 
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue 

While these may not always be indications of oral cancer, you should meet with an experienced dental specialist if symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks. 

Causes and risk factors for oral cancer 

Medical experts are not sure what exactly causes cancer, or why it may affect some groups of people more than others. Most scientists believe that oral cancer is the result of a mutation in the genetic code, which leads to abnormal cell growth.

Here are some factors known to put you at risk for oral cancer: 

  • Men are known to be twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women 
  • Frequent tobacco use
  • Frequent alcohol use 
  • Excessive sun exposure 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • If you've been previously diagnosed with oral cancer 
  • If your 62 years or older you may be at an increased risk 
Early diagnosis is crucial in treating oral cancer during its initial stages. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahvash Zulfaghary or Dr. Zehra Asad for an oral cancer screening. 


While it is isn't possible to prevent all types of cancer, there are steps that you can take to minimize your risk for oral cancer. Here are some lifestyle changes to consider if you want to reduce your risk for oral cancer: 

  • Avoiding tobacco use 
  • Consuming a moderate amount of alcohol 
  • Maintaining a healthy diet 
  • Using SPF and limiting sun exposure 
  • Exercising frequently 
  • Maintaining good oral health and hygiene 

If you fear that the symptoms you are experiencing may be signs of oral cancer, early diagnosis is necessary for successful treatment. Call our office or book an appointment online to schedule your next oral cancer screening.

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    8170 Maple Lawn Blvd Suite 150, Fulton, MD 20759

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    Phone: (240) 456-0717