Oral cancer grows in the mouth accompanied by a sore that stays for what seems like forever. Cancer could develop in different areas of the mouth such as the lips, mouth floor, tongue, cheeks, sinus, and throat. Since the rate of oral cancer patients is increasing year by year, a lot of misconceptions about it have spread. Let’s tackle some oral cancer facts as well as the usual misbeliefs about it before you get your mouth checked.
Signs and Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
One of the facts to know is that oral cancer can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Once you notice that the signs and symptoms of oral cancer are starting to emerge, call your doctor right away. Here are the common symptoms according to medical experts:
- Swollen areas in lips, gums, or anywhere inside the mouth.
- Emerging bumps in different locations.
- Red and white patches in the mouth.
- Feeling pain and tenderness whether in mouth, face, or neck.
- Total numbness.
- Soreness of the mouth, cheeks, and face.
- Excessive bleeding.
- Trouble eating as biting and chewing is quite challenging.
- Changes in the voice.
- Dentures falling off.
- Sudden loss of weight.
The first stages of oral cancer do not typically cause pain. This is the reason why most patients diagnosed with it are at the crucial stage already where their oral health is already suffering.
Oral Cancer Risk Factor
A lot of factors could put a person at risk of oral cancer. Even though the primary reason is poor oral health, the environment and lifestyle could be a great contributor to its occurrence as well. Visit the Lyndarum Family Dentist’s site at: https://lyndarumdentist.com.au/ to read about it.
Check out the risk factor list below to see if you are prone to the disease:
Tobacco, cigarettes, e-smoking, pipes, and puff are all under this category. Using these products frequently is the biggest risk factor for oral cancer. In fact, about 85% of head and neck cancer patients have been smoking cigarettes. On the other hand, pipe use is the common risk factor for lip cancer. Sadly, everyone is still at risk of oral cancer due to secondhand smoking.
An unhealthy lifestyle is another risk factor to watch out for. Using tobacco is one thing but excessive consumption of alcohol is another. Habitual use of these two increases the risk of getting oral cancer.
Too Much Sun Exposure
It’s important to wear sun protection because being exposed to the sun is the most common cause of lip cancer. This risk factor can be prevented by wearing sunscreen before out.
HPV or Human Papillomavirus
HPV can result in many complications, including oral cancer. You will most likely get oral cancer if you engage in sexual activities with someone who has HPV. The only way to reduce your risk of getting cancer through HPV is by limiting your sexual partners and wearing protection
According to research, men are more prone to oral cancer than women. As a matter of fact, about 1.7% of the male population has oral cancer and 0.71% in women.
As crazy as it sounds, people with fair skin are more susceptible to lip cancer.
Age is another risk factor for oral cancer. Note that oral cancer may grow in people of all ages but those who are 45 years and above are more at risk than younger ones.
Poor Oral Health
If you want to avoid oral cancer, one of the most important things for you to do is ensure that your oral health is in good condition. Brushing your teeth every day, using dental floss, rinsing with mouth wash, and routine checkups with your dentist could go a long way.
Foods without complete nutrition could you at risk of so many diseases apart from oral cancer. Vitamin deficiency weakens your immune system which results in different complications.
Oral Cancer Facts
- It is not easy to diagnose oral cancer because most of the time, the growing tumor is located in hidden areas of the mouth. If you suspect that you have the disease, visit your dentist for a thorough examination of your mouth.
- Oral cancer screening is a standard procedure in dental checkups. This is done in order to diagnose and treat the disease as early as possible.
- While oral cancer is diagnosed more in older patients, younger individuals are still prone to it.
- Tobacco and cigarettes are the most reason why someone gets oral cancer, however, non-smokers are still not safe against the disease.
- There are many preventative measures to avoid getting oral cancer. Some of them are: not smoking, regular dental checkups, and eating healthily.
- Diagnosing and treating the disease as early as possible plays a crucial part in recovery. Once you notice that you’re starting to exhibit symptoms, consult your dentist right away.
- Oral cancer comes in different stages.
Mouth Cancer Myths
Moreover, there are a lot of misconceptions about oral cancer as well. Some of these are:
- It is a rare disease.
- Young people don’t get diagnosed with oral cancer.
- Only smokers get the disease.
- There is no way to prevent oral cancer.
- Dentists only choose the patients they want to screen for oral cancer.
- It’s easy to diagnose.
Different Stages Of Oral Cancer
Just like other types of cancer, oral cancer develops through time and comes in different stages. To give you a wider perspective, here are the different stages of oral cancer:
Stage 0 or carcinoma in situ
This is the very beginning of cancer and it is often found on the surface layer as it hasn’t penetrated the inner tissues yet. The usual treatment for this is a surgery where the surgeon will remove the first layer of the tissue. Sometimes, cancer comes back, but there are my patients who lived joyfully without the recurrence of oral cancer after the surgery.
At this stage, the tumor is still visible on the outer layer as it hasn’t reached the lymph nodes yet. This is considered the early stage of cancer. People who are cured at this stage have a higher chance of survival.
The tumor has not reached the lymph nodes at this point as well but its size is twice bigger than on stage 1. This is still a safe stage for treatment and the success rate is still very high.
During the third stage of oral cancer, there are 2 possible things to look for. First, the tumor has grown bigger than 4 centimeters, and second, cancer cells have reached the lymph nodes.
The last and final stage of cancer is the most advanced stage. On stage 4, regardless of the size of the tumor, if cancer has spread to nearby tissues and other parts of the body, immediate treatment would be necessary.
It’s also possible for oral cancer to be graded as stage 4 if it’s recurrent.
Preventing Oral Cancer
If you wish to avoid the ugly effects of oral cancer on your mouth and overall health, here are some of the things to remember:
- Stop smoking or better yet, don’t even think about using it. This product is composed of chemicals that are harmful to your mouth.
- Drink moderately. Alcohol has become a common beverage in events and get together so it’s quite impossible to completely avoid it. Doctors advise drinking in moderation.
- Make sure to wear protection when going under the scorching heat of the sun. Put some protection particularly on your lips.
- Most important of all, see your dentist twice a year or every 6 months for a routine checkup. Visit this site to learn more.