Facts And Signs of Oral Cancer
Mouth cancer is cancer that develops in any of the parts of the mouth (oral cavity). Mouth cancer can develop on the Lips, gums, tongue, inner cheek lining, the mouth’s roof, and the mouth’s floor.
Oral cancer is cancer which develops on the inside of your mouth. It is one of several types of cancer classified as head and neck cancers. Oral cancer and other head and neck cancers are frequently treated in the same way.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Some of the Symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A sore or ulcer in your mouth that does not heal
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing or swallowing
- Unusual lumps or thickening of the tissue in the mouth
- White or red patches in the mouth
- Difficulty in moving the tongue or jaw
- Numbness in the mouth or face
- Difficulty in speaking or swallowing
- Unusual bleeding from the mouth
- A feeling of something stuck in your throat •
- Swelling of the jaw
- A sore throat or that does not go away
It is important to note that other conditions, such as infections or allergies, can also cause these symptoms. Therefore, if you experience any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Oral cancer is most commonly caused by exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus.
How Can One Detect Oral Cancer?
Early detection of oral cancer can reduce the likelihood of the cancer growing and spreading. A monthly self-examination can help you detect oral cancer early. If you notice any changes or anything out of the ordinary, contact your dentist right away. Here’s how to look for signs of oral cancer in your mouth, throat, and neck:
- Feel your lips, your gums, and the roof of your mouth.
- Look for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in your neck and under your lower jaw.
- Examine your mouth with a bright light and a mirror.
- Look at the roof of your mouth with your head tilted back.
- Pull your cheeks out to see the inside of your mouth, cheek lining, and back gums.
- Examine the top, bottom, and sides of your tongue. Push your tongue back gently so you can see the floor of your mouth.
How do Medical Professionals Detect Oral Cancer?
During one of your regular checkups, your dentist at Breckenridge Dental Group may detect potential oral cancer. They may perform preliminary tests on you or refer you to an oral surgeon or head and neck surgeon. Oral cancer tests include the following:
- Oral cancer screening examination: Your healthcare provider will examine the inside of your mouth and may feel around it. They’ll also look over your head, face, and neck for signs of pre-cancer or cancer.
- Brush biopsies, also known as scrape biopsies or exfoliative cytology: Healthcare providers gently scrape the area in question with a small brush or spatula to obtain cancer cells.
- Incisional biopsy: Your doctor will remove small pieces of tissue to obtain cells for cancer testing.
- Indirect laryngoscopy and pharyngoscopy: Using a small mirror, your dentist examines the base of your tongue, your throat, and a portion of your larynx.
- Flexible (direct) pharyngoscopy and laryngoscopy: An endoscope may be used to examine areas of your throat and mouth that mirrors cannot see.
Prevention Of Oral Cancer
There is no proven method of how to prevent mouth cancer. However, you can lower your risk of developing mouth cancer if you:
- Stop smoking, or don’t start. Stop using tobacco if you do. Don’t start smoking if you don’t already. Tobacco use, whether chewed or smoked, exposes the cells in your mouth to carcinogenic chemicals.
- If you drink alcohol, moderate it. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption can irritate your mouth’s cells, making them vulnerable to mouth cancer.
- Avoid getting too much sun on your lips. Stay in the shade mostly to protect the skin on your lips from the sun. Wear a hat with a wide brim which covers your entire face, including your mouth. Use a sunscreen lip product as part of your regular sun protection routine.
- Regularly visit your dentist in Breckenridge, CO. Request that your dentist inspect your entire mouth as part of a routine dental exam for abnormal areas and lumps that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.