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Oral Cancer

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States develop oral cancer. It is important to find oral cancer early and get the necessary treatment. Regular dental check ups that include a cancer screening by your dentist is critical.


  • A sore in the mouth that does not heal
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums tongue, or lining of the mouth
  • Soreness or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable

Advice on Preventing Oral Cancer

  • Avoid tobacco use: Tobacco use accounts for 80-90% of oral cancers, but people who stop using tobacco-even after many years of use can greatly reduce their risk of oral cancer.
  • Avoid chronic or heavy use of alcohol: Alcohol use increases the risk of oral cancer, but people who use both alcohol and tobacco are at much higher risk.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun: Cancer of the lip can be caused by harmful sun rays. Use lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Avoid smoking a pipe: Pipe smokers are also at risk for lip cancer.
  • Maintain regular dental check-ups with screening for oral cancer.
  • Get the HPV Vaccine: The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that about 60% of all oropharyngeal cancers are linked to HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). It is possible that HPV vaccines might also prevent oropharyngeal cancers.
Key Contacts
Oral Health:
(608) 243-0354

Debi DeNure, RDH
(608) 243-0499