Oral cancer as the name indicates is the cancer of the oral cavity. It includes cancer of the tongue, lips, the floor of the mouth, cheeks, sinuses, hard, and soft palate and throat. Oral cancer can be life-threatening if it is not diagnosed and treated at the right time.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Early detection of oral cancer results in better outcomes of the treatment. This cancer can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. About 84% of the cases of oral cancer can be detected during their early stage by a dental professional.
During an oral cancer screening, the dentist uses different tools that can help him detect mouth sores and any discoloration in the oral cavity. During the screening, the dentist can examine the mouth for any lumps or visible abnormalities. If they find something unusual or alarming, they will take a sample of your tissues and send the sample for further tests to a lab. He will not be able to tell at that point if they have detected cancer. They will take a sample and keep follow-up checkups to see if the signs are healing. If not, he will chalk out a strategy to help you through the treatment.
When oral cancer is detected earlier, the higher are the chances of treatment and successful elimination of cancer. Hence, oral cancer screening during a dental exam is extremely important.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that if you ever observe any, you would know how to go about it. The most common symptoms are listed below:
- An irritation or mouth sore that persists for some time
- White or red colored patches within the oral cavity
- Tenderness, numbness or pain in lips or mouth
- A rough spot, lump, thickening or an eroded area in the mouth
- Difficulty in chewing, speaking, swallowing or moving your jaw or tongue
- A visible change in the way your teeth fit upon closing your mouth
Some people complain that they get the feeling of something being stuck in their throat. They could also experience a change in their voice. If you have observed any of these listed symptoms, let your dentist know immediately so they can have a clearer picture of your situation
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
A number of factors increase the risk of developing oral cancer. The people who are at a higher risk of getting cancer are as below:
- Research indicates that men are more likely to develop oral cancer as compared to women.
- Excessive smokers
- People over the age of 50 years old who consume alcohol
- Persons affected by human papillomavirus (HPV) are at risk of developing head and neck cancers that initiate from the back of the throat or from folds of the tonsils.
Luckily, oral cancers are curable if detected at an early stage. If you feel you are at risk or have already developed some symptoms, consult a HPS Dental in Shelby Township, MI to make sure you combat the disease timely! You can reach us at our office at (248) 652-0024. We hope to hear from you soon!