- Oral cancer refers to cancer of any part of the oral cavity which includes the tongue, root of the mouth(hard palate), lips, floor of the mouth, area behind the last molar, teeth, gums and inside of the cheeks and lips.
- Oropharyngeal cancer refers to cancer of back of the throat, soft palate, tonsils, back 1/3rd of the tongue, the sides and walls of the throat.
SOME FACTS ABOUT ORAL CANCER:
- In United States, oral cancer kills more people than other types of cancers including cervical cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma and malignant melanoma.
- Oral Cancer is the 6th most common types of major cancer, the incidence of which keeps increasing every year while the incidence of others types of cancer is declining.
- More than 40% cases occur in people who do not visit the dentist regularly.
- Oral cancers have best prognosis if detected early and if diagnosed at an advanced stage it has one of the least 5 year survival rates.
- Tobacco Use— Chewing or Smoking.
- Alcohol— Especially smoking together with alcohol consumption increases the risk.
- Age— More than 90% cases in US occurs in individuals over the age of 45 years.
- Gender— Males are at higher risk than females.
- Race—Black people and Hispanics are at higher risk than other populations
- UV Radiation From Sun Exposure— Increases the risk of lip cancer.
- Human Papilloma Virus— HPV is most common sexually transmitted disease in the US. It is associated with increased incidences of cancers in young individuals even who don’t use tobacco in any form.
- Lifestyle— People with low socioeconomic backgrounds who can’t afford healthcare, low education and low oral and overall health awareness, people whose food lacks in essential vitamins and minerals are at more risk.
OTHER CAUSES INCLUDES:
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Ill Fitting Dentures
- Broken Sharp Teeth
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:
- A non healing ulcer — Ulcer not healing after 2 weeks should be consulted with a professional.
- Painless lump or mass in the mouth.
- Persistent hoarseness of voice.
- Lump in the throat.
- Unusual pain or numbness in the mouth.
- Persistent difficulty in chewing or opening mouth.
- Unexplained pain in the ear.
- Red white patches on the inside of cheeks or lips that are bleeding or symptomatic.
- Your dentist can probably the first person to diagnose the signs of oral cancer or precancerous lesions in your mouth.
- In the comprehensive visit the dentists look at signs of oral cancer and ask you series of questions that help them understand the presence of any suspicious lesions in your mouth.
- If the dentist sees anything suspicious he/she may refer you to a specialist or do a biopsy to find out more.
- If diagnosed early oral cancer can have good prognosis; which is why regular dental check ups are very important.
PREVENTION OF ORAL CANCER:
- Quitting tobacco in any forms.
- Quit or reduce alcohol in moderation.
- Avoid risky sexual behavior.
- Live a healthy lifestyle.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables.
- Apply good sunscreen and lip balm when exposed to sunshine. Protect yourself from harmful UV radiation.
- PLEASE SCHEDULE DENTAL APPOINTMENTS REGULARLY FOR ORAL CANCER SCREENING AND COMPREHENSIVE DENTAL EXAMINATION.
TREATMENT OF ORAL CANCER:
- The treatment of oral cancer is a multi disciplinary approach which involves the efforts of surgeons, radiotherapy and chemotherapy oncologists, dental practitioners, nutritionists, rehabilitations and restorative specialist.
- The treatment of cancer also has multitude of dental complications. In our next post we will discuss further about this.
- At charter oak dental , we do a through screening for oral cancer.
- Ask us more during your visit to Charter Oak Dental, New Britain, Connecticut.
ASK US MORE DURING YOUR VISIT.