Oral cancer is the most common kind of cancer associated with the head and neck, making up 85% of all cases. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, this year alone in America nearly 43,250 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer. Five years from now, just a little over half of these same individuals will still be alive. Oral cancer is just as serious as any other kind of cancer, but thankfully there are things you can do to help protect yourself.
Oral cancer can turn fatal when it is discovered too late in its development. The best thing you can do to protect your mouth is undergo regular oral cancer examinations, because when caught early there are a variety of treatment options available.
To protect your smile from the dangers of mouth cancer, visit Willoughby Dental for a thorough Brooklyn New York Oral Cancer Screening.
Types of Oral Cancer
There are a variety of different types of oral cancer that can develop. Each type has a few distinct symptoms, although many symptoms of oral cancer overlap.
Throat cancer does not usually display signs until it has really started to progress. Common signs of throat cancer include:
-Changes in voice
Tongue cancer can impact any part of your tongue, even the hidden tissues on the underside. Common signs of tongue cancer include:
-Difficulty moving jaw or tongue, chewing or swallowing
-A lump inside of your mouth
-White or red patches in mouth
-Tongue or jaw pain
Most gum cancer forms directly on the outer layer of your gums. The gums in your mouth can become impacted by cancer for a number of reasons, including untreated gingivitis, or gum disease. Common signs of gum cancer include:
-A sore or lump that does not go away
-Apparent thickening of gums
-Loose tooth or teeth in certain parts of your mouth
-Problems with dentures fitting properly
With so many different types, stages, and signs of mouth cancer, it’s important to undergo regularOral Cancer Examinations, after all a simple exam could save your life.
Signs of Oral Cancer
At the earliest stages of oral cancer, the signs may not be noticeable to you at all. This is yet another reason why regular oral cancer examinations are so important. If you wait until symptoms become noticeable, the cancer has a chance to progress.
Signs of Oral Cancer include:
-A lump in your neck
-A numb feeling in your mouth
-Pain while chewing or swallowing
-Feels like something is caught in your throat
-Lump(s) on your tongue, throat, lip, or anywhere in your mouth
-Leukoplaki—white patches found inside of your mouth
-Erythroplakia—red patches found inside of your mouth
All of these symptoms can signify other issues that are not related to cancer; therefore the only way to know if you have mouth cancer is to visit your dentist for an oral cancer screening.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer starts from one abnormal cell turning into a cancerous tumor. A trigger will flip the switch in your genes that causes the cell to become damaged and start to multiply out of control.
The actual ‘trigger’ or cause of mouth cancer can be wide ranging. Some people develop oral cancer for no apparent reason, while others have an identifiable likely cause. Lifestyle and pre-existing conditions can increase your risk for oral cancer, some risk factors to watch out for include:
-HPV, the Human Papillomavirus
-Certain pre-existing mouth conditions including leukoplakia and erythroplakia
People over 40 are at the greatest risk for developing mouth cancer, although it is showing up in younger patients more often lately. Interestingly, oral cancer is twice as common in men as it is in women.
Oral Cancer Screening Procedure
Since oral cancer can impact any part of your mouth, a full examination of your gums, tongue, and throat are conducted at your cancer screening. Anything that looks suspiciously like cancer will require a biopsy, or a small tissue sample that can be tested in a lab for abnormal cells. If the sample tests positive for cancer, other tests may be required to ensure your oral cancer has not spread to other parts of your body.
Treatment Options For Oral Cancer
There are a number of different treatment options you can undergo depending on the type and extent of your oral cancer. Remission is most likely when oral cancer is caught in its earliest stages. Since oral cancer is easier to detect than other types of cancer, regular dental exams ensure your cancer is identified early on.
The most common treatment involves surgery, if the cancer has not spread to other sites the infected tissues can be surgically removed. Some treatments actively seek to destroy cancer cells, while other treatments are given to reduce pain and ease symptoms. Other common treatment options for oral cancer include radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Brooklyn New York Oral Cancer Screening At Willoughby Dental
Regular dental exams are key to catching oral cancer early, which is the best way to prevent more serious complications, like the spread of cancer to other parts of your body.
For Brooklyn New York Cancer Screenings, Willoughby Dental provides thorough examinations you can count on. Call us today at (718) 395-9105!