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Oral cancer awareness, not just from tobacco

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 8:58 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Oral cancer is not just a risk that comes after a lifetime of smoking or chewing tobacco.

Today, we know there are many causes to blame. Dr. Joe Cordero, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and Texas Tech Physician says, “We’re seeing a new trend with people in their 30s, 40s and 50s with the HPV type of virus cancer, that the only presentation would be a neck mass and no associated pain.”

However, that is only part of a long list of possible symptoms.

He says “In oral cancer, we see people who have white patches, red patches, ulcers and when they’re associated with significant amount of pain and I’m talking pain for three to four weeks and it doesn’t seem to get any better.” Excessive alcohol can also be a trigger for oral cancer and Dr. Cordero says you might be surprised where that alcohol could be hiding. “My youngest patient who was 17, he developed a cancer because he used to use mouthwash severely almost 12 times a day.”

The good news is oral cancer can be cured if it is found early and removed. That’s why our best protection is going in for a teeth cleaning every 6 months. Your dentist can check for bumps or stains or anything in the mouth that just doesn’t look right. That is much easier than going to a surgeon later, when the cancer is advanced.

For more from Dr. Cordero, check out the full interview above.

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