With regular dental screenings and self-examinations, tumors of the oral cavity and throat can be detected early. Those who consume alcohol, use tobacco, or have been exposed to other carcinogens are especially at risk.
For some, regular dental visits are not always possible. For this reason the Foundation aggressively promotes education to help people recognize symptoms.
The presence of any of these symptoms may or may not be cancerous, but it is important that the professional opinion of a dentist or doctor be sought if the problem(s)
As part of our mission of prevention and detection we have free oral cancer screening cards available which may be downloaded as an Adobe PDF file or ordered by mail.
The screening cards titled OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR MAY BE MORE DEADLY THAN THEY APPEAR were developed by dental students at the University of Florida to allow individuals who are at increased risk for oral cancers to monitor their own oral conditions.
If you would like to download a PDF version of the screening cards please click here.
If you would like the oral cancer screening cards sent to you please email Ryan Anderson, President, Andrew J. Semesco Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, shipping address and the quantity desired. The screening cards will be shipped to you at no charge.
The Foundation has created an educational video on oral, head and neck cancer for middle school and high school aged students. We are currently in the process of distributing the video to all school boards throughout the state of Florida.
The video covers the definition of oral, head, and neck cancer and reviews risk factors, signs and symptoms, and preventive measures. By incorporating Andy's story we hope the video will deliver a meaningful and heartfelt message with a lasting impression.
To view the video please click on the link below:
Through generous contributions from the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, we are able to fund this project.
The following photographs are courtesy of Drs. Cohen and Bhattacharyya at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.
The most common areas for finding oral squamous cell carcinoma are the lower lip, the lateral border (side) of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth. These areas are the most common, but are NOT the only places that this cancer can occur.
This white area on the side of the tongue is from chronic chewing of the tongue. It is not cancer. However, any suspicious lesion should be examined by your local dentist or oral surgeon.
This white area on the gums and inside the lower lip is from chronic snuff (dip) use. Using smokeless tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer 4 times over. A trip to your dentist is mandatory upon discovering this lesion.
Whitish areas on the lower lip such as this can be due to long term exposure to UV radiation. There is a 10% chance of lesions such as this to progress to cancer.
This man's lower lip must be biopsied ASAP.
Oral cancer is cancer in the mouth. The oral cavity begins with the lips and includes the inner lining of the cheeks, teeth, gums, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and most of the tongue. The base of the tongue, soft palate, tonsil area, and back of the throat comprise the oropharynx. Both the oral cavity and oropharynx are made up of several different types of tissue that are in turn made up of different types of cells. Various forms of cancer can develop from these individual cell types that will determine the correct and most effective form of treatment.
What's something exciting your business offers? Say it here. Tumors of the oral cavity can be detected early with regular dental screenings and careful self-examination. In order to be effective in the fight against this disease we must be conscious of our bodies. If regular dental visits are not possible then we must be aware of the potential seriousness of certain symptoms. Symptoms such as a sore in the mouth that is not healing may be an early sign of tumor. The mouth is a very rapidly healing area; therefore, any prolonged soreness should alert one to seek medical or dental attention. A prolonged toothache may even be a cause for concern. These are a few symptoms which may cause one to seek medical attention especially if you are a large consumer of alcohol, use tobacco, or have been exposed to other carcinogens.
The following are some signs and symptoms frequently associated with tumors of the oropharynx and oral cavity:
Any of these symptoms could herald the presence of a cancer. Consequently, it is important that the professional opinion of a dentist or doctor be sought if you are concerned about any of these symptoms. The head and neck area has an excellent blood supply helping it to heal quickly. Therefore, the failure of an area to heal should be a concern.
Give customers a reason to do business with you. Benign tumors are the over production of cells in a tissue which remains contained in that specific area and does not invade surrounding tissues. There are many kinds of benign tumors which include fibroma, granular cell tumor, keratoacanthoma, papiloma, and various other types. Leukoplakia is an abnormal white area in the mouth or throat that may or may not be cancer. Erythroplakia, a red, raised area which bleeds easily when scraped, may also be cancer. Both leukoplakia and erythroplakia are types of dysplasia, a precancerous condition. Many times dysplasia will disappear if the causative agent (e.g. improperly fitting dentures or smokeless tobacco) is removed. Treatment with vitamin A may help eliminate some dysplastic conditions. Benign tumors are usually treated by surgery with a small chance of reoccurrence.
Malignant cancers are aggressive tumors that have the ability to spread to surrounding tissues. This spread of cancer away from its primary site is known as metastasis. According to the American Cancer Society more than 90% of cancers of the mouth and throat area are squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells are skin cells, which are flat and scale-like in appearance. Squamous cells normally line the oral cavity and oropharynx. Malignant tumors can be fatal even with early detection, however, early diagnosis will greatly increase one's chances for cure and survival.
First and foremost, do not use or discontinue the use of tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chew greatly increase one's risk for developing lip, gum, and cheek tumors by as much as 50 times. According to the American Cancer Society 90% of people with oral cavity cancers are tobacco users. Smokers are six times more likely to develop tumors of the head and neck than are non-smokers. Pipe smokers are more prone to lip cancers, and cigar smokers are at higher risk for tongue and other oral cancers. The nicotine in these products is highly addictive; so, quitting may be difficult. There are new medications and methods which may help you stop the use of these products. Please consult your physician.
The use of alcohol greatly increases one's risk for oral tumors. Roughly 80% of all people with oral cancers are frequent alcohol users. The combination of tobacco use and alcohol significantly increases one's chances of developing such tumors beyond the use of either by themselves. It is a proven fact that alcohol allows harmful chemicals to more easily penetrate cells and increasing the risk of damaging its DNA.
Dangerous Ultra Violet Light
Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to cancers of the lip and other skin cancers. Common areas that are at risk are the nose, ears and forehead. In order to reduce your risk of skin cancers please wear sun screen.
Prolonged irritation to an area in the oral cavity may lead to pre-cancerous or even tumor growth. Cancer is essentially the uncontrolled growth of cells. When your body is injured, it must regenerate the damaged cells. This constant regeneration to continually damaged areas may increases the probability that a tumor will arise. Avoid situations which will cause continual damage to areas in the mouth such as poorly fitting dentures. Regular dental visits will help prevent this situation from occurring.
The current system of tumor classification is the TNM system. The T category indicates the size of the tumor primary site. The N category indicates the spread of the tumor to regional lymph nodes. (Lymph nodes are part of the bodies immune system and aid in fighting infections). The M category indicates whether the tumor has spread or metastasized to distant sites such as the lung, brain or liver.
T Classification System
T0: No primary tumor visible or apparent.
T1: Tumor present, 2 cm or smaller.
T2: Tumor between 2 and 4 cm.
T3: Tumor is greater than 4 cm.
T4: Tumor of any size which has invaded neighboring tissues or other body structures.
N Classification System
N0: No metastasis to lymph nodes nearby.
N1: Metastasis present in one lymph node (on same side as the primary site of the tumor). The size of the node is smaller than 3 cm.
N2: There are 3 subgroups =
N2a: Metastatic tumor in one lymph node between 3 and 6 cm.
N2b: Metastatic tumor in multiple lymph nodes smaller than 6 cm and on the same side as the primary site.
N2c: Metastitic tumor in one or more lymph nodes, all smaller than 6 cm, but on the same and opposite side as the primary tumor site.
M0: No distant metastasis present.
M1: Distant metastasis exists.
Marion County Cancer Alliance, http://www.crushcancermc.co.nf/
The American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
The National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.org
Tobacco Free Florida, http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/
The University of Florida, Shands Cancer Center, http://www.ufscc.ufl.edu/
The Cancer Alliance of Marion County, http://www.crushcancermc.co.nf/
Oral Cancer Foundation, http://oralcancerfoundation.org/
American Dental Association, http://www.ada.org/2607.aspx
Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, http://www.headandneck.org/
Support for People with Oral and Neck and Head and Neck Cancer, http://www.spohnc.org/
Fight Oral Cancer Foundation, http://www.fightoralcancer.org/
H.U.G.S. Charities, Inc., http://www.hugscharities.org/index.html
Ocala Royal Dames, http://www.ocalaroyaldames.org/
Pleural Mesothelioma, http://www.pleuralmesothelioma.com/
Mesothelioma Guide http://www.mesotheliomaguide.com/
Mesothelioma Fund http://www.mesotheliomafund.com/
Mesothelioma Treatment http://mesothelioma.net
Mesothelioma Group www.mesotheliomagroup.com