Cancer is never an easy disease to face. Many types of cancer are very treatable especially when diagnosed early. Oral cancer is one of those that are easily treatable in its very earliest stages. However, the prognosis changes dramatically once it progresses. Oral cancer is any cancer of the mouth and the pharynx. The most common oral cancer affects the squamous cells in your mouth and can spread quite quickly. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death. Oral cancer accounts for about 40,000 diagnoses per year and 8,000 deaths annually.
Causes Of Oral Cancer
-Heavy Alcohol Use.
-Human Paplilloma Virus (HPV).
-Excessive Exposure To Sun.
Warning Signs Of Oral Cancer
-Presence Of White Or Red Patch In The Mouth Or On The Lips.
-Persistent Mouth Sore. Any mouth sore that persists longer than 10-14 days.
-Persistent Sore Throat. Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.
-Difficulty In Chewing, swallowing, moving the jaw or tongue.
-Numbness In The Tongue.
-A Constant, Unexplained Toothache.
Oral Cancer Screening By Your Dentist
Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine dental examinations at least twice a year. A manual and visual examination is necessary. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. The use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system has been proven to diagnose precancerous as well as cancerous changes in the tissue as early as possible to give you the best chance for recovery and survival from oral cancer.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
If during your dental examination your dentist finds anything suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your treatment.
Oral Cancer Conclusion
If you have any concerns about your oral health or have any of the warning signs listed above, see your dentist immediately. As in any disease, an early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. So be vigilant and, even if you do not have any warning signs, visit your dentist for routine oral cancer screenings.