Oral Cancer Can Be Caught Before It Kills

Many don’t know they’re at risk, but having regular dental checkups is an important defense against oral cancer.

Oral cancer – cancer in the mouth, on the lips, or in the throat – is a complex disease, and many people don’t know they’re at risk for it, says Dr. Parish Sedghizadeh, a dentist at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.

“Oral cancer isn’t one of the most common cancers for people to get, but it is one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S.,” he says.

It’s so hard to live through oral cancer because it is usually found very late, Dr. Sedghizadeh explains. Treatment is also very tough on patients because surgery for oral cancer can disfigure the face, tongue, and neck as well as cause problems with daily activities such as eating, drinking, and speaking.

Where the cancer is depends a lot on what risk factors a person has, he says. Most oral cancers in the U.S. are found on the sides of and underneath the tongue and are connected to smoking or drinking alcohol. Cancers on the lip are usually connected to either smoking or lots of sun exposure, such as working outside without sun protection for many years. Cancers on the inside of the cheek are often tied to chewing tobacco.

Another risk for oral cancer that has been found recently is human papilloma virus, or HPV. HPV is spread through sexual activity, and scientists have already connected the virus to cervical cancer in women. Oral cancers tied to this very common virus often show up in the tonsils or elsewhere in the throat.

“The majority of oral cancer risk is still in people who have smoked or drank heavily for years, but HPV might be why we’re now seeing it in other people, especially younger women,” Dr. Seghizadeh says.

Dentists and dental hygienists can work with their patients to be the first line of defense against oral cancer, says USC dental hygienist Carlos Sanchez. Dentists and hygienists can check suspicious mouth lesions, sores, or unusual lumps that may become cancerous as part of a dental appointment, so having regular checkups is important. Patients can also look for early warning signs every day through self-examinations when they brush and floss their teeth, Sanchez adds.

“Patients know their bodies best,” he says. “If you have a sore that’s not been healing or swelling that hasn’t gone down, let your dentist, dental hygienist, or doctor know.”

Symptoms to look out for include:

-       Red or white sores or patches that aren’t healing (even if they don’t hurt)

-       Soreness or feeling like something is caught in the throat

-       Lumps in the mouth or neck that don’t go away

-       Trouble swallowing or talking

-       Pain in the mouth or ear

Dentists and hygienists can also offer patients advice on reducing oral cancer risks, including how to stop smoking. During this year’s Great American Smokeout, celebrated nationwide on Thursday, November 21, USC dental hygiene students and faculty will provide free oral cancer screenings and help with quitting smoking to the public from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the USC Pharmacy, 3601 Trousdale Parkway, Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90089 and the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, 925 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089. Both locations are on the USC campus.

The Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC offers low-cost dental care to children and adults. To learn more, please visit dentistry.usc.edu/patient-care or call (213) 740-2805.

Views: 241


You need to be a member of Leimert Park Beat to add comments!

Join Leimert Park Beat

Comment by Pamela Garrett on November 29, 2013 at 7:50pm

Good grief! Is there any part of your body that cancer can't grow? sigh. Thanks for the information.

Comment by Yvonne Hill on November 23, 2013 at 4:21pm

Important news!  Thanks for sharing.

Leimert Park Beat is the news and social network for Leimert Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Stay informed. Join now!


• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.


With your help, LeimertParkBeat.com raised money to hire reporters, graphic artists and community members to cover our area.
Read the stories - Urban Economy 411, Redevelopment Hell and One of these don't belong.

Latest Activity

Profile IconLeimert Park Beat via Facebook

CulverCityTimes Welcomes Its 700th Member!

Culver City Times

The CulverCityTimes online community website passed an incredible milestone this weekend -- adding its 700th member. Fantastic! When I started this site in 2001, I envisioned a place where the Culver City community could record, share and appreciate the things that make their city great.…

Facebook12 hours ago · Reply
DojO- commented on DojO-'s blog post Attention Friends of Jazz: Jazz Showcase & Big Band Jazz Concerts FREE @ UCLA Schoenberg Hall
"FYI: Official/unofficial Mayor of LACMA Fri. Nite Jazz & World Stage Sat. Jazz Workshop Ambassador, RegG w/ be in attendance, supportin' & patronizin'. (has been out attendin' to the chops) -  O-!"
14 hours ago
Profile IconLatest Events - Culver City Times

Mad Science Chanukah Festival

Chanukah Festival will feature a mad science show - with a test tube Menorah. Dreidels -Chanukah gelt - Potatoe Latkes - crafts - make your own Menorah.

Time:December 6, 2015 from 4pm to 5pm

Location:Westfield Culver City

Street:6000 Sepulveda Blvd,

City/Town:Culver City 90230

Website or Map:… See More
DojO- posted a blog post
Pasadena Music Scene posted photos
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Pasadena Music Scene's video
Pasadena Music Scene posted videos
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Pasadena Music Scene's video
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Pasadena Music Scene's video
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Pasadena Music Scene's blog post "Invest In Yourself" Exclusive Interview with Polygraph Symptom aka 210West
Pasadena Music Scene posted a blog post
Mixtape Cover King posted a status
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Jose Ubaldo's blog post Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project Moves Forward with Construction Activities All Along the Alignment
Pasadena Music Scene promoted Jose Ubaldo's blog post Business Interruption Fund spotlight: Delicious Southern Cuisine
Jose Ubaldo's blog post was featured

Business Interruption Fund spotlight: Delicious Southern Cuisine

More than $1 million in grants from Metro Business Interruption Fund (BIF) have been awarded since the first checks were …See More
Andrea Strain is now a member of Leimert Park Beat
Profile IconLatest Events - Culver City Times

Pharrell Williams, B.J. Novak, & Drew Daywalt Book Signing

Children’s Book World is elated to be hosting a book signing with B.J. Novak, Drew Daywalt, and Pharrell Williams on December 5 at 2:00 p.m.!   Meet the authors and get signed copies of Pharrell’s Happy!, B.J. Novak’s The Book with No Pictures, and Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Came…

See More
Jose Ubaldo posted a blog post

Business Interruption Fund spotlight: Delicious Southern Cuisine

More than $1 million in grants from Metro Business Interruption Fund (BIF) have been awarded since the first checks were …See More
Nov 18
Profile IconLatest Events - Culver City Times

Oregonian folk orchestra Patchy Sanders performs at Boulevard Music!

Patchy Sanders, Oregonian folk orchestra extraordinaire, will be performing at Boulevard Music on December 5th at 7:30 pm. 
Working with eclectic themes from dreams, fairy-tales, afterlife, and wild lands, Patchy crafts stream-of-consciousness story music with an emphasis on melody and lyrics. These aren’t songs as much as they are musical emotional experiences conjuring other worldly journeys. By…
See More
Nov 17
Jose Ubaldo posted an event

Crenshaw/LAX Light-Rail Project Construction Update Meeting at Lula Washington Dance Theatre

November 16, 2015 at 12pm to November 17, 2015 at 7pm
Join Metro and Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors at the Construction Update Community Meeting Learn about upcoming construction activities and speak with project construction staffTuesday, November 17, 20156:30pm to 8:00pm Lula Washington Dance Theatre3773 Crenshaw Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90016Parking is available at the adjacent lot and on street.Signage will direct people to the meeting room.RSVPRSVP for accommodations. For questions please call (213) 922-2736 or email…See More
Nov 16

© 2015   Created by enhager.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service