Oral, head, neck and throat cancers account for about 4% of cancers in the U.S. According to the National Cancer Institute, these cancers occur more than twice as often among men than women. While not as common as some other types of malignancies, oral cavity and oropharyngeal (head and neck) cancers can often be discovered during routine screening exams by a dentist, medical doctor, dental hygienist, or even by self-exam. Early diagnosis means that these cancers are more treatable.
Most head and neck cancers begin in squamous cells, which are cells that line moist surfaces, such as those inside the mouth, nose, sinuses and throat. Salivary gland cancer, another category of head and neck cancer, has many different forms because these glands are made up of many different types of cells that can become malignant. As you might suspect, tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of many types of head and neck cancer.
One of the factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer is tobacco usage of any kind; this includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others. Heavy alcohol use and excessive sun exposure to your lips can also increase your risk. In recent years, there has also been a rise in cases of oropharyngeal cancer linked to infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) in Caucasian men and women.
According to the American Cancer Society, some of the early warning signs and symptoms can include:
• A sore in the mouth that does not heal (most common symptom)
• Pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away (also very common)
• A lump or thickening in the cheek
• A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
• A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat that doesn’t go away
• Trouble chewing or swallowing
• Trouble 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
• Loosening of the teeth or pain around the teeth or jaw
• Voice changes
• A lump or mass in the neck
• Weight loss
• Constant bad breath
Of course, many of these symptoms can also indicate conditions other than cancer; that is why it is so important to get regular dental and physical checkups. See your dentist or medical doctor right away if any of these symptoms lasts for more than two weeks.
World-Class Cancer Treatment Close to Home
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has put together a network of expert, board-certified physicians who bring world‐class cancer treatments to local communities, both large and small, across the state. With nearly 100 locations, FCS is the largest independent oncology/hematology group in the United States. That status puts the practice on the leading edge of clinical trial research and gives FCS physicians access to the newest, most innovative treatments.
Clinical Trials Lead to Tomorrow’s Treatments and Cures
Through a strategic partnership with Sarah Cannon, one of the world’s leading clinical trial organizations, FCS offers more access to national clinical trials than any other oncology practice in Florida. In the past three years, the majority of all new cancer drugs were studied in clinical trials with FCS participation, prior to approval.
Florida Cancer Specialists treats patients with all types of cancer, and offers a number of services, such as an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house pathology lab and financial counselors at every location, that deliver the most advanced and personalized care in your local community.
7651 Medical Drive
Hudson, FL 34667
14100 Fivay Road, Suite 380
Hudson, FL 34667
New Port Richey
8763 River Crossing Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL 34655
New Port Richey West
5802 State Road 54
New Port Richey, FL 34652
26823 Tanic Drive
Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544
38010 Medical Center Ave
Zephyrhills, FL 33540