If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right.Switch to Accessible Site

5 Stars Dental | Information About Oral Cancer in Roanoke

5 Stars Dental

Jacob H Pham, DDS

6212 Peters Creek Rd
Roanoke, VA 24019

(540) 563-0519

Information About Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

What would you do if you found a reddish patch on the side of your tongue? How about a white spot on the inside of your lip?

Health authorities anticipate that 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2004. This number, while slightly lower than in the past, is far too high and will claim nearly 8,000 lives. As with every form of cancer, prevention and early detection are essential.

What you should know

  • Oral cancer usually starts subtly, often with a small red or white area, or perhaps a lump or a sore spot.
  • Frequently, it occurs on the lips, sides or underside of the tongue, or the floor of the mouth – although it can occur anywhere in the mouth.
  • Tobacco use, in any form, increases the risk for oral cancer.
  • Alcohol, combined with tobacco, increases the risk even more.
  • As we grow older, our chances of experiencing oral cancer rise, especially after age 40 – although oral cancer has been discovered in young people as well.
  • Regular visits to your dentist are important, as oral cancer screening is part of a routine dental check-up.


What you can do

Perform regular examinations of your own mouth. It is important to consult your dentist promptly if you notice any of the following lasting for more than two weeks:

  • A change in the color of the tissue – such as a small red or white spot;
  • A change in the surface or texture of the tissue – such as thickening of the tissue, formation of a lump or a sore spot, or an ulcerated, eroded or crusted area;
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together;
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing or a change in your ability to move your mouth, tongue or jaws normally;
  • A change in your voice, such as chronic hoarseness;
  • A lump anywhere in your head or neck area;
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in your mouth or lips;
  • A sore that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks.


Other preventive measures you can take

  • Do not use tobacco products. If you do, consult your dental or medical professional for help to quit.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Wear hats and sunscreen. Remember to protect your lips with a lip balm containing sunscreen and apply frequently.
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Visit your dentist regularly


Remember, prevention and early detection of oral cancer is essential for living a long and healthy life. Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of oral cancer prevention.