Do you know the facts about oral cancer and its symptoms? It’s important to detect oral cancer early, which is why we, at Enamel Dental, screen for it during routine dental exams.

This type of cancer is part of a group of cancers relating to the head and neck called “oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers.” These include cancers of the mouth, cheeks, lips, tongue, hard and soft palates, sinuses and throat.

Here are some general facts about this disease as well as symptoms to watch for:


  • Oral cancer is twice as common in men than in women.
  • Cancer of the oral cavity is the ninth most common cancer among men.
  • Tobacco users and heavy drinkers are at the highest risk for oral cancer.
  • Oral cancer is more common in people over 50. The average age of people who are diagnosed is 62.


  • About 51,540 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2018.
  • An estimated 10,030 people will die from these cancers.
  • The overall five-year survival rate for people with oral or oropharyngeal cancer is 64 percent
  • The overall five-year survival rate when the cancer is detected at an early stage is 83 percent.
  • Oral cavity and pharynx cancer represent 2.9%  of all new cancer cases in the United States and 1.6% of all cancer deaths.


  • A sore, lesion, lump or rough spot in the mouth or on the lip that does not go away
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth, for example on the tongue, lips, gums or inside the cheeks
  • Numbness or tenderness in the mouth, face or neck
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw
  • Persistent ear or jaw pain
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Soreness, or a feeling that something is caught in the throat

We advise conducting a self-exam regularly to check for signs of oral cancer. If you notice anything of concern, notify your dentist immediately. Contact our West Loop office for more information and a free oral cancer screening during National Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April.