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Oral Cancer and Diabetes


With nearly 10 percent of the population in America suffering from type II diabetes, chances are you’ve already heard a lot about the illness. With an estimated 1.5 million new diagnoses each year, diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. But aside from the dangers of diabetes itself, the disease can also increase your risk of developing a co-morbid or secondary condition. In fact, a new study in the journal Diabetologia has revealed that having diabetes can increase the risk of developing oral cancer in women by 13 percent and their overall risk by 27 percent. The news wasn’t much better for men, with an increased rate of all cancers of 19 percent.

This year, about 50,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer, and approximately 9,750 people will die from the disease. If you already have diabetes – or even if you don’t - empower yourself to know the warning signs of oral cancer, because the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.

Here’s what to look for during a home oral cancer screening:

  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A lump in the mouth, lips or throat
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • An oral ulcer that bleeds or will not heal
  • Difficulty moving the tongue
  • Pain or tenderness anywhere in the mouth

If you are experiencing any three of these, it is recommended you be seen by a doctor immediately, but even if you are experiencing just one symptom, you owe it to yourself to get it checked out.

Remember, living with diabetes can open you up to a world of medical issues you didn’t expect, but if you stay on top of them, many of them can be controlled or even prevented.

To make an appointment with Dr. Simpson, give us a call at 910-239-7164.

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