What is Oral Cancer?
Cancer can be termed as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore that does not go away. Oral cancer which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
If you feel any of the symptoms similar to oral cancer immediately consult your doctor for diagnosed and treatment.
Oral Cancer Statistics
- Oral cancer will be diagnosed in an estimated 30,000 Americans this year
- Oral cancer will cause more than 8,000 deaths in the United States this year.
- Oral cancer kills approximately one person every hour.
- Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in men and the 14th most common cancer in women.
- Oral cancer can spread quickly. On average, only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years.
- Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects twice as many men as women.
Lower Your Risk of Developing Oral Cancer
Most of the oral cancers are preventable. Most of the oral cancers are related to tobacco use, alcohol use, or use of both substances together.
Prohibit the use of tobacco products – cigarettes, chew or snuff, pipes or cigars. Tobacco inall the possible forms plays a vital role in oral cancers.
Limited Alcohol – Excessive alcohol drink can increase your risk of oral cancers.
Use lip balm that contains sunscreen – Exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for lip cancer.
Fruits and vegetables – Includes fruits and vegetables as part of a low-fat, high fiber diet may help reduce cancer risk.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Check with dentist or physician if any of the following symptoms lasts for more than expected time period:
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or changes in the voice
- Ear pain
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together – a change in your bite
- Dramatic weight loss
- Thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam, which is a routine part of a comprehensive dental examination. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue, as well as check for or ask you about the signs and symptoms mentioned above.
Your dentist might perform an oral brush biopsy if he or she sees tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analyzing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks even more suspicious, your dentist might recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anesthesia and might be performed by your dentist or a specialist referred by your dentist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.
Early Detection of Oral Cancer
It is important to find oral cancer as early as possible when it can be treated more effectively and efficiently.
An oral cancer examination can detect early signs or symptoms of cancer. They are painless and do not take much of the time.
With the help of regular dental check-up there will be less risk of oral cancer. During the test, your dentist or dental hygienist will check your face, neck, lips, and entire mouth.