Early detection of oral cancer would allow for better treatment results.
Among the many problems that can affect a person’s dental health, oral cancer is undoubtedly one of the most severe and dangerous diseases.
Oral cancer produces malignant tumors which can affect any tissue in the oral cavity (lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, and palate), and it can also affect the oropharyngeal part (base of the tongue, tonsils, throat). This occurs in the form of sores or wounds that do not heal and can bleed easily, or as spots or lumps that do not go away.
Oral cancer affects more than 10,000 people approximately every year.
What symptoms does oral cancer produce?
Symptoms that could signify the presence of oral cancer are:
- A wound or sore on the inside of the lips or mouth that does not heal and can bleed easily.
- A white or reddish patch or lump inside the mouth.
- Loose teeth.
- Pain in the mouth, ears, or throat.
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, speaking, or moving the tongue.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms persistently, it would be best to visit the dentist as soon as possible.
What factors can increase the risk of oral cancer?
One factor that could indicate an increased risk of oral cancer is gender since men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer.
Other risk factors can be:
- The consumption of tobacco.
- Consuming excess alcohol.
- A very long and continuous habitual exposure to the sun.
The human papillomavirus is also associated with the development of throat cancer. People who suffer from this virus are more likely to suffer from oral cancer.
How is oral cancer detected?
Oral cancer screenings are performed by examining the patient’s oral cavity. This review is done by a doctor or dentist. The test’s goal is to find oral cancer early to increase the chance of better treatment results.
Because early detection for oral cancer is crucial, during the oral cancer screening exam, the dentist checks the oral cavity and throat for sores or red or white spots. The dentist may also need to feel the tissues inside the mouth to look for lumps or other abnormalities.
The dentist may also need to perform other tests and examine the oral cavity to complement oral cancer screening. These tests can be:
- Cancer screening test with dye: This procedure involves applying a blue tint to the patient’s mouth. Abnormal cells absorb the paint and stain blue, making it easier to detect.
- Cancer screening test with light: consists of illuminating the inside of the mouth with a special light. This makes healthy tissue appear dark, while abnormal tissue appears white.
If, after the tests, any signs of oral cancer or some precancerous lesions are detected, the dentist might recommend another check-up in the following weeks. The dentist would again check the oral cavity at that visit to determine if the abnormal tissue or lesions are still present or if they have changed in size or shape.
A biopsy may also be necessary to remove a tissue sample to determine the presence of cancer cells.
The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer is: avoid tobacco use, reduce alcohol consumption, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. It is also essential to regularly visit the dentist to ensure no problems may affect your dental health.
Oral cancer is a disease that can seriously affect people’s oral health, and at Infinity Dental Arts, we know this. That is why we offer the best options and the most advanced oral cancer detection techniques. If you are concerned about the risk of oral cancer, visit our dental practice in Indian Trail, NC where our professionals can provide the advice and help you need.