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Posted on: November 21, 2022
What is Oral (Mouth) Cancer?
Oral cancer, AKA mouth cancer, is any cancer that occurs in your oral cavity or on your lips. This includes your gums, cheeks, tongue and the roof and bottom of your mouth. We have Mouth Cancer Action Month because the cancer is more common than most people believe. In fact, it is the ninth most common cancer for men. In the United States, about 50,000 people are diagnosed with the cancer every year. If caught early, oral cancer is easier to treat. If you see your dentist regularly and understand the signs, you have a better chance of receiving an early diagnosis. The overall survival rate for people with an early diagnosis is 85%, significantly higher than for people with a late diagnosis.
Protect your health and schedule an appointment with our dentist in Rockefeller Plaza today!
How Can I Tell if I Have Mouth Cancer?
The common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Persistent sores on the lips or inside the mouth that don’t heal within two weeks
- Lumps in the mouth
- Reddish or white patches in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Dentures that don’t fit anymore
- Unexplained mouth bleeding
While many signs and symptoms of oral cancer can have other causes, you should always have them checked out. Our dental team is here to help. Call our dental office in ;GEOID[ today.
Why Do People Get Mouth Cancer?
Actions that increase your chance of developing oral cancer are risk factors. Most individuals with mouth cancer have one of more known risk factors, but a small percentage have none. The major risk factors are:
Tobacco use – This includes all forms of tobacco, not just cigarettes. People who smoke a pipe are at a higher risk for developing lip cancer. Individuals that use smokeless tobacco are at a higher risk for gum. lip and cheek cancer. Vaping is just as dangerous. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor.
Alcohol use – Heavy drinkers who have more than three drinks each day are at risk of developing mouth cancer. Alcohol is even deadlier with combined with tobacco use.
A poor diet – Not eating enough fruit and vegetables can increase your risk of oral cancer. If you don’t get enough antioxidants, your chances of getting oral cancer, along with types of cancers. increase.
Prolonged sun exposure – A lifetime of sun exposure, especially in fair-skinned individuals, can lead to lip cancer. so, you need to protect your lips when using a sunbed.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) – This virus is responsible for mouth cancer occurring in younger individuals, as it’s usually seen in people over the age of 55.
Gender – Almost twice as many men as women get mouth cancer. This may be because men are more likely to smoke and drink.
How Are People Diagnosed with Oral Cancer?
Treatment is more effective when oral cancer is caught early. During routine exams, dentists look for the early signs of the cancer. Screenings are painless and non-invasive. Your dentist simply visually examines your oral cavity and feels for lumps. It only takes a few minutes. If your dentist notices something, he or she may suggest a biopsy or a referral to a specialist for another type of test.
Call our office today for an appointment for an exam and screening with our dentist in Rockefeller Plaza.
What are Typical Oral Cancer Treatments?
The treatment you receive for cancer depends on your general health, where the cancer started and the stage of the cancer. Your personal preferences also help determine your treatment, as your team will explain the risks and benefits of each treatment. Your multidisciplinary team may include specialist dentists, oncologists and more. They will explain the goals of your treatment, too, whether it is to control the cancer or to cure it. You are always allowed to get a second opinion if you wish, but there are times when treatment needs to begin as quickly as possible.
Typical treatments include surgery to remove cancerous cells, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted medications. Your treatment can include a combination of these, plus rehabilitative services afterward. These typically include services to help you eat or speak better after treatment.
Is Oral Cancer Avoidable?
You can significantly lower your risk by stopping all tobacco use. This is the most important thing you can do. Quitting smoking or other tobacco use is challenging, but it is never too late. Plus, quitting will help you avoid other health problems, like heart disease or lung cancer.
If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to two drinks per day if you’re a man and one per day if you are a woman. Wear a lip balm with sunscreen if you are out during the daytime. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Even if you do all this, you should have regular oral cancer screenings. Call our office to arrange a dental exam and screening with our dentist in Rockefeller Plaza. Celebrate Mouth Cancer Action Month by Making the call today.