Cancer is a scary thought. There are many stories of people suffering severe trauma from different types of cancer, yet one rarely think that it’s possible to get oral cancer. What is oral cancer? Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in your mouth. It includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. It can be life threatening if it is not diagnosed in time.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer
The most common symptoms of oral cancer are the following:
- Swelling, lumps or bums, rough spots, crusts or eroded areas on the lips, gums or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of white, red or speckled velvety patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Unexplained numbness in any area of the face
- Persistent sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily
- Soreness of throat or a feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving of the jaw or tongue
- Ear pain
- A change in the way that your teeth fit together
- Dramatic weight loss
If you notice any of the symptoms, you have to contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Who’s vulnerable to oral cancer
Over 40 000 people in the USA were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. According to the American Cancer Society, men are more likely to be at risk than women, especially men over the age of 50. Other risk factors include smoking, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, family history of cancer, excessive sun exposure and exposure to certain types of the human papillomavirus or HPV. These are all risk factors, but in reality, anyone can develop oral cancer.
How can oral cancer screening help?
Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening during your routine dental exam. He will feel for any lumps or irregular tissues in your neck, head, face and mouth. He will look for sores and discolored tissues as well. If he finds something that may be linked to oral cancer, he will do a biopsy to determine whether cancer cells are present in the suspicious area. Regular oral cancer screening will ensure that your dentist spot the cancer in its early stages when it’s still easy to treat.
How is oral cancer treated?
Oral cancer is treated in much the same way as other cancer. Surgery can remove the cancerous growth while radiation and chemotherapy is given to destroy any remaining cancer cells. If the cancer is spotted in time, the patient has a pretty good chance of recovery. The survival rate for oral cancer is fairly high compared to other cancers.
Visit your dentist at Smiles of New York today for an oral cancer screening and detailed advice on how you can protect yourself against oral cancer. If our dentists discover any sign of oral cancer during your examination, they will guide you through the treatment process. Get screened today.