Oral cancer rates are significantly increasing. Furthermore, this type of cancer has factually high death rates because the cancer is typically discovered in its late stages. Fortunately, early detection can lead to successful treatment. Therefore, many dentists have built oral cancer screenings into a routine six-month visit. When you go for your routine dental checkup, your dentist will most likely conduct a painless exam. Regular dental checkups are essential because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. During the exam, your dentist will check your face, neck, lips, and entire mouth for possible signs of cancer. Because dental visits are recommended to occur twice a year, or as recommended by your dentist these are favorable times to test for oral cancer.
Risk of developing oral cancer increases depending on one’s lifestyle choices. Smoking and smokeless tobacco are the most frequent causes of the disease. Tobacco users should be tested regularly, to catch cancer in their earliest stages. Alcohol consumption is also a significant risk factor for developing cancer, and the risks can be higher if you are both a tobacco and alcohol user. If you do not smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol you may still be at risk for developing oral cancer. A less common risk factor for developing the cancer is the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Other risk factors for developing the cancer are through hereditary factors and exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, (HPV). Also, age, sun exposure, and diet can be potential causes.
You should look out for the following signs, if you suspect you have any, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. These symptoms include a sore, irritation or lump in your lip, mouth or throat. A thick, red or white patch in your mouth. A feeling that something is caught in your throat. Difficulty chewing or swallowing. Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth. Swelling in your jaw that causes dentures become uncomfortable or fit poorly. Pain in one ear without the loss of hearing.
Once oral cancer has been established the doctor suggests treatment based on the age of the patient, extent of infection and location of the infection. Radiotherapy is a commonly used method to destroy the cancerous cell in the infected area. At times surgery is carried out to insert radioactive pellets in or around the tumor which gradually destroys the infected cells. It may be done before or after radiotherapy. Chemotherapy is another treatment used for destroying cancerous cells. Anti-cancerous drugs are also used to shrink the tumor. The time period of treatment and the strength of the medicine are dependent on the extent of infection.
At Dental & Denture Clinic, we know that regular dental checkups are critical to detect diseases and other threats to your health at an early stage.
When was your last checkup?