Each year there are approximately 36,000 new cases of oral or mouth cancer diagnosed in the United States, resulting in about 9,000 deaths. The death rate from mouth, tongue or oral cancer is greater than other cancers you frequently hear about such as cervical cancer, lymphoma, skin cancer and thyroid cancer. Sadly, the high death rate is due to the fact that there may have been a delay in diagnosing the mouth cancer until it was in the later stages or metastasized to other areas of the body. If the oral cancer is allowed to spread, it could also lead to removal of the jaw, skin, muscle, neck, tongue and other facial features.
People who are at a higher risk of developing tongue, mouth, gum or oral cancer are those who:
- Smoke or use chewing tobacco
- Drink frequently
- Have a history of sun, tanning bed or UV exposure
- Are deficient in recommended vitamins and nutrients
Signs and symptoms of mouth or oral cancer can include:
- A sore or lesion on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal
- A white or red patch on the tongue, lip, cheek or gums
- A thickening of the skin on the lip or in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- A feeling that something is stuck in the back of your throat
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Loose teeth or dentures not fitting correctly anymore
- Numbness in the mouth or on the tongue
- Changes in your voice
- Frequent bleeding in your mouth or gums
- Swelling of jaw or side of face
Should you develop any of these problems, it is a good idea to have a dentist or physician evaluate the lesion or problems. Suspicious areas should be biopsied right away to detect if it is oral cancer. Once a cancer diagnosis is made, your doctor will conduct other studies such as an endoscopy, lymph node biopsy, MRI, CT scan or PET scan to see if the cancer spread to the lymph nodes or metastasized to other areas of the body. The treatment and prognosis of a patient with oral cancer depends on the cancer stage or how far the cancer spread to other organs or bloodstream. The 5-year survival rate for oral cancer ranges from 81% for those with early or localized disease, to 50.7% for those with regional disease, to 29.5% for those with distant metastasis. In general, the sooner the mouth, tongue or oral cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances for longer-term survival.
If you believe there was a delay in diagnosing your lip, tongue, mouth or oral cancer you may be eligible for compensation. Please feel free to contact one of our experienced failure to diagnose cancer lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.
The Philadelphia Beasley Law Firm is a nationally recognized medical malpractice and wrongful death firm that has been awarded over $2 billion for their clients. In addition to our experienced attorneys, we also have on staff two physicians and three registered nurses, in addition to decades of expertise that made us a leader in this field. Our collective knowledge assisted in obtaining two of the largest medical negligence verdicts in Pennsylvania history, $100 million and $55 million, as well as hundreds of other multimillion dollar judgments and settlements.