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Is Oral Cancer Preventable? Learn How to Identify the Signs Today
There are many different types of cancer. While some forms are more curable than others, all forms of cancer are fatal, should they be left untreated. Since cancer is lethal, it’s essential to treat it as soon as possible as that increases the risk of survival. In the early stages, oral cancer is among those cancers that is most easily treatable. However, before you can treat oral cancer, you must learn how to identify the symptoms of the disease.
What is Oral Cancer?
Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to the surrounding area. As the name suggests, oral cancer is an unwanted growth of cells in the mouth. What first might appear to be a mouth sore, can quickly turn cancerous. Soon, the growth expands and will eventually spread to the entire mouth, should it go untreated. Oral cancer will cause over 9,750 deaths this year, killing close to one person per hour, 24 hours per day. This is because oral cancer is continuously not caught early enough. It is routinely only recognized and diagnosed once the cancer has had time to spread to other parts of the body. Detecting and treating oral cancer early is incredibly important, and can increase the chances of survival and remission.
The Different Types of Oral Cancer
Oral cancers are a part of a larger group known as head and neck cancers and contribute about 85 percent of cancer cases in that category. Oral cancer comes in two forms: in the mouth or in the throat region. When occurring in the mouth, cancer can grow on the lips, the inside of the cheeks, on the teeth, gums, tongue, or on the roof or floor of the mouth. Cancer can also grow in the oropharynx, meaning the throat, tonsils, or base of the tongue.
The Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer starts out as an irregular lump of tissue in the mouth. This type of cancer is most prevalent to those who use cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and even vape pens. Additionally, oral cancer also affects alcoholics and those with a family history of the malady. Finally, those over the age of 40 are also more susceptible to develop cancer since their immune systems have weakened with age. Therefore, if you fall into one of these categories, you’ll want to pay close attention to any painful or suspicious mouth growths, as those could be cancer cells.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms vary, depending on the type and stage. Common oral cancer symptoms include excessive swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots on the gums, lips, tongue, or other areas of the mouth. Also, frequent and unexplained bleeding, numbness, or tenderness in any area of the face or mouth, and the development of white, pink, red, or speckled patches or bleeding sores in any region of the mouth. Other things like a clogged throat, difficulty in chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue can also occur. Lastly, ear pain and dramatic weight loss might also be a sign of cancer, although not necessarily.
The Treatment Process
If you think you have cancer, the first step is to schedule an oral cancer screening. During this screening, the questionable area will be tested and analyzed. If confirmed as cancer, the next step is the treatment process. Oral cancer is treated like most cancers, with surgery. After the growth is successfully removed, radiation therapy or chemotherapy treatments may be needed to destroy any remaining and potentially harmful cells.
Here at Friendly Dentistry, we specialize in oral cancer screenings, providing you with the professional assessment of potential oral cancer. If you think you might have oral cancer, don’t wait, contact us and schedule a screening today.