Cancer is the uncontrolled cell growth that invades the body tissues. Oral cancer is characterized by a sore or growth in the mouth that will not go away. There are several types of oral cancers that may grow on the lips, cheeks, tongue, the bottom of the mouth, soft and hard palate, the sinuses, and the back of the throat. Oral cancer can threaten your life if not diagnosed and treated properly.
Oral cancer manifests through different symptoms, including:
- Inflammation, rough patches, lumps, or eroded spots on the different parts of the mouth.
- Bleeding in the mouth for no apparent reason.
- Velvety white or red patches in the mouth or surrounding areas.
- Bleeding sores on the neck, face, or mouth that do not heal.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
- Unexplained, significant weight loss.
Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, use of smokeless tobacco, heavy alcohol intake, family history of cancer, and human papillomavirus. More men than women are at risk for developing oral cancer.
Your dentist diagnoses oral cancer during your regular checkups. Your dentist should be able to detect any irregular tissue changes or lumps in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. He or she will look for any sign of sores or discolored tissues. If there appear to be symptoms of oral cancer, the dentist will perform a biopsy to confirm the presence of cancer in your mouth.
Oral cancer is treated the same way that other types of cancer are treated. Your physician may recommend an operation to remove the cancerous growth, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy to destroy any cancer cells that remain.
To decrease your risks for oral cancer, do the following:
- Avoid alcohol or drink it only in moderation.
- Abstain from using tobacco products.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Stay out of direct sunlight. Excessive sun exposure increases your risk of lip cancer.
See your dentist every six months. Dentists can often see signs of oral cancer before they are apparent to the patient. Thankfully, oral cancer is treatable, especially when diagnosed early.
Oral health is important especially for people who usually communicate with their bosses, officemates or friends. How awful it is when somebody would cover his nose with his hand or handkerchief whenever you speak! It is quite alarming and would put your social life as well as your health at stake. This infographic would help you determine early signs of oral cancer.