A regular checkup with a dentist is the key to having a healthy oral cavity. They also help keep your mouth cancer-free.
Although oral cancer does not get as much attention as other cancers, that doesn't mean it's any less deadly. Roughly calculated, in the United States, oral cancer is responsible for causing the death of one person every hour, daily. Though oral cancer accounts for a comparatively small percentage of all cancers, oral cancer is more dangerous because it isn't usually discovered until it’s at an advanced stage. At that point, the chances of survival have significantly slimmed, as only about 6 in 10 people will survive after five years of treatment.
Who Is at Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Anyone can develop oral cancer, but certain conditions and lifestyle habits could put you at greater risk. These include:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco products.
- Consumption of alcohol
- Spending long periods under the sun without sunscreen or sun protection
- Eating a diet lacking in fruits and leafy vegetables
- Having a weakened immune system and certain genetic disorders.
- Being a man
- Being aged 40 and above
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Presence of sores in your mouth or lips that won't heal
- Red or white patches on the insides of your mouth or throat
- A lump, growth, or hard spot in your mouth
- Persistent bleeding or mouth pain
- Difficulty or experiencing pain while swallowing, chewing, or moving your tongue.
How Can Oral Cancer Be Detected?
An in-depth screening for oral cancer is part of your routine dental checkup. The screening includes a visual inspection of your tongue, lips, and the inside of your mouth, including checking for red or white patches or unusual sores. In addition, the dentist will use special tools to look for the presence of lumps and swellings, and your tongue may be gently pulled aside to get a better view. A special light may be used to focus on any suspect areas to have a clear look at them. If anything appears to be abnormal, a biopsy will be conducted. Early diagnosis done through oral cancer screenings during your regular dental checkups is one of the best defenses against oral cancer.
An oral cancer screening is the best way to detect and prevent cancer in your mouth. Call (757) 546-0301 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jayme Alencar Oliveira.