Oral Cancer and Why You Should Never Miss a Dental Appointment

Oral cancer is the cancer of the oral cavity, which includes cheeks, lips, sinuses, tongue, throat, the floor of the mouth and the hard and the soft palate. Oral cancer must be taken seriously as it can be life-threatening. The good thing is when detected in an early stage, this form of cancer is easily curable. It is, thus, that routine oral exams are crucial.

Here’s Why Early Detection Is Crucial

Detecting oral cancer at the right time to crucial to ensure proper treatment. Unfortunately, not many people know that close to 84% of oral cancer cases are easily detectable during routine dental examinations. Further, oral cancer cases detected early are easily curable. Late detection, however, is one of the leading causes of fatalities. While performing oral cancer screening, dentists check the mouth for lumps and discolouration in the oral cavity. Similarly, they also make it a point to see if they can see odd sores or visible anomalies that may be indicative of a larger problem.

In case your dentist sees something unexpected, they will immediately take the necessary actions. When dentists think there might be some possibility of oral cancer, they take a sample tissue from the affected area and send it for tests. The reports take a few days to come. Meanwhile, your dentist will keep an eye on the area and prescribe medicines to alleviate the issue.

Common Signs and Symptoms Associated with Oral Cancer

You will certainly benefit from routine dental check-ups, so don’t skip them. However, it is also important that you understand the signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer. When you are aware of the signs, you will be able to stay more watchful.

Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer:

  • White- and red-coloured patches within the oral cavity
  • Lumps or spots inside the mouth
  • Swollen tongue and jaw/ experiencing difficulty while chewing/swallowing
  • Mouth sores that refuse to go even after weeks
  • Noticeable changes in voice
  • Many oral cancer patients say that they feel like they have something stuck in their throat

If you have been experiencing any of the signs and symptoms stated above, do not delay seeing your dentist. You may be dealing with a health problem that requires immediate treatment.

Here Are a Few Habits That May Increase Your Chances of Developing Oral Cancer

There are a few habits that increase one’s chances of developing oral cancer. For instance, research shows that men are far more likely to develop oral cancer than women. Similarly, those who smoke quite often are also at a much higher risk of getting oral cancer. Further, people aged above 50 who consume alcohol excessively make a high-risk group and so do people affected by the HPV or the human papillomavirus. In fact, people affected by HPV are not only at a higher risk of developing oral cancer but also at a higher risk of head and neck cancer.

Conclusion

Any form of cancer, including oral cancer, should not be taken lightly. Even the curable forms of cancer such as oral cancer can be treated successfully only when detected in an early stage. Thus, if you see any of the signs or symptoms linked with oral cancer discussed above, immediately see your dentist and if you fall under any of the high-risk groups, make sure to never skip a dental appointment.

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