Oral cancer develops in the oral cavity. It appears as a persistent growth or sore in the mouth. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inner cheek, and inner mouth. Oral cancer is fairly common. Like all cancers, oral cancer can be cured if found and treated at an early stage.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by a dentist to look for signs of cancer or precancerous symptoms in the mouth. Oral cancer screening aims to detect cancer early when there is a better chance of curing it. Dentists examine your mouth to check for oral cancer during your routine dental visit. Some dentists may apply extra examinations to help them spot regions of abnormal cells in your mouth.
Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
The symptoms of oral cancer are:
Sore That Doesn’t Heal
Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks could be a sign of oral cancer.
White Or Reddish Patch Inside Your Mouth
Oral cancer can also appear as velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
Sometimes loose teeth are also a sign of oral cancer. Difficulties chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue may also be signs of oral cancer.
Who Should Get Oral Cancer Screening & When?
Around 11 out of 100,000 people have a chance of developing oral cancer in their lifetime. Oral cancer is most common in men over the age of 50. The chances of successfully treating oral cancer are increased by early detection. The majority of dentists advise routine examination of the entire mouth for the detection of oral cancer. Adults over 20 years should get screened every three years, while those over 40 years should get screened every year. A yearly oral cancer screening should be requested by those who have risk factors, such as adults who use tobacco, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and have the human papillomavirus (HPV). A family history of cancer also increases the chances of oral cancer.
What Happens If You Are Diagnosed With Oral Cancer?
There are some treatments for oral cancer:
- Surgery to remove cancerous cells and the surrounding tissue.
- Radiotherapy where radiation beams are directed at the cancerous cells.
- Chemotherapy, i.e use of powerful drugs used to kill cancerous cells.
Dentists use a combination of the above methods for the treatment. Oral cancer treatments also focus on preserving vital oral functions like breathing, speaking, and eating. Maintaining the appearance of your mouth is also a high priority.
Protecting Yourself Against Oral Cancer
There’s no proven way to prevent mouth cancer. The risk of mouth cancer can be reduced if you:
Stop Using Tobacco Or Don’t Start
Tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals. The cells of your mouth are exposed to these chemicals while using them. It is advised to stop chewing or smoking tobacco if doing so.
Drink Alcohol Only In Moderation
Excessive alcohol can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them vulnerable to mouth cancer. Around two drinks a day for men and women above the age of 65 is allowed.
Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure To Your Lips
The UV rays from the sun can cause oral cancer on your lips. Stay in the shade when possible. Wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your entire face, including your mouth. Apply sunscreen as part of your routine sun protection regimen.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Ask your dentist to inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes as a part of a routine check-up.
Get Your Oral Cancer Screening In Hawthorn Woods
Oral cancer is a serious oral health issue that should not be ignored under any circumstances. The faster oral cancer is treated, the better. Get your oral cancer screening done in Hawthorn Woods Family Dental Care, IL, for fast and efficient treatment. Contact us now to book your appointment.