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Oral Cancer
Approximately 30,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with oral cancer, resulting in 8000 deaths per year, with 30 deaths annually in the 15 to 24 age group. Approximately 75% of oral cancers are related to tobacco use, alcohol use, or both. Simply put, tobacco use in any form (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco) can cause oral cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
 
1.
Oral tenderness, burning, or a sore that does not heal.
 
2.
Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth.
 
3.
Lump in the mouth.
 
4.
Color changes in the mouth.
 
5.
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
 
6.
Change in the way the teeth fit together.
 
7.
Leukoplakia: A condition commonly considered precancerous in which thickened white patches of epithelium occur on the mucous membranes especially of the mouth.
Leukoplakia.

Providers should encourage and assist in tobacco cessation, as well as examine the oral mucosa for abnormalities, especially in tobacco-using patients.
 
 
All forms of tobacco can cause oral cancer.
 
The oral examination in adolescents who use tobacco should include an exam for early signs of oral cancer.
 
Leukoplakia may be a precancerous lesion and should be examined by an oral health professional.
 
The use of tobacco products and cessation options should be discussed at all routine health care visits.
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