9 Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Cancer

9 Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Cancer

April 1, 2023

Each year, approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or mouth cancer. About 9,000 of these people die, roughly one person per hour. Like most cancers, oral cancer is reversible when diagnosed during the initial stages.

In this article, let’s look at the answers to the nine most commonly asked questions about oral cancer that you should know.

  • What is oral cancer?

Oral or mouth cancer develops in the mouth or oral cavity, including the lips, inside of the cheeks, tongue, gums, roof, and floor of the mouth, and throat.

  • What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Like most chronic diseases, oral cancer develops gradually. In the early stages, it may not show any significant symptoms. Early symptoms of oral cancer are often mistaken for less serious oral conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores.

Once the disease has progressed, you will experience more notable symptoms. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • Persistent oral or facial pain
  • A lump or thickening in the cheeks or neck
  • Persistent bad breath or halitosis
  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, opening the mouth or swallowing
  • Changes in voice
  • Persistent Sore throat or a feeling that something is stuck in the throat
  • A visible change in mouth tissue
  • Persistent swelling or fullness in the mouth or neck
  • Oral numbness
  • Loose or falling teeth
  • Changes in the fit of dentures
  • Who’s at a greater risk of oral cancer?

While anyone can get oral cancer, certain factors can increase your risk. For instance, tobacco users are six times more likely to get oral cancer than those who don’t. The risk is even higher if you use tobacco and alcohol. Common risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Poor oral hygiene and health
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • A family history of oral cancer
  • Poor diet and lifestyle
  • Old age
  • Why are oral cancer screenings important?

Oral cancer screenings allow for early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer. Late diagnosis of oral cancer is a key reason behind complications like death. Since oral cancer might be hard to diagnose individually, especially in the early stages, routine oral cancer screening is the best way to quickly catch oral cancer.

Our oral cancer screening dentist will check your mouth for sores, abnormal tissues, oral discomfort, and other symptoms linked with oral cancer. If the dentist gets something suspicious, they can refer you for a biopsy or other tests to confirm whether you have oral cancer. If present, your dentist or specialist will immediately create a personalized treatment plan to remove cancer before it spreads to cause more damage.

  • How often should you have oral cancer screenings?

Since the detection of oral cancer improves your chances of successful treatment, dental experts recommend having regular oral cancer screenings. Adults above 20 years should have a screening every 1 – 3 years. Adults over 40 years should have annual screenings. People at a greater risk of oral cancer should have annual screenings.

  • How is oral cancer diagnosed?

Oral cancer is usually diagnosed during routine dental exams and screenings. Other oral cancer diagnoses may include a complete physical exam, digital imaging, biopsy, imaging, and blood tests.

  • What are the different types of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can develop in any part of your oral cavity, including the tongue, inner cheeks, throat, tonsils, palate, and lips. Common types of oral cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, verrucous carcinoma, lymphoma, and minor salivary gland carcinomas.

  • How is cancer treated?

Oral cancer treatment is customized based on the location and severity of the patient’s condition. Common treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

  • How can you reduce your risk of oral cancer?

While there are no proven ways to prevent oral cancer, certain factors can help reduce your risk of developing the disease. These include:

  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Avoid alcohol abuse
  • Have routine dental checkups and screenings
  • Avoid excessive sunlight exposure
  • Take vaccination for HPV
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet

Are you interested in oral cancer Screenings in Danbury, CT?

Are you ready to schedule your routine oral cancer screening? Or perhaps you have more questions about oral cancer. Contact Danbury Smiles – George Landress, DDS, MAGD, to schedule your consultation today.

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