Oral cancer can be divided into two categories with the first occurring in your oral cavities like your lips, cheeks, gums, teeth and the anterior portion of your tongue along with the floor and roof of your mouth. The second category of cancer of the oropharynx which is the middle region of the throat and includes the tonsils and the base of the tongue.
The treatment options for cancer that is detected early may help patients stay away from the 10,030 people who may succumb this year to this disease. Approximately 60% of people that are detected with oral cancer survive for five years.
Your lips, gums, cheek lining, anterior part of your tongue, the floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate which makes up the roof of your mouth are all part of your oral cavity. The pharynx begins at the soft part of the roof of your mouth to continue back into your throat. The back section of your tongue, as well as the location where the tongue attaches itself to the floor of the mouth, is also included. These are the areas that are susceptible to oral cancer.
Contacting the dentist near you should be your goal if you notice any of the following symptoms in your mouth and there do not disappear in about two weeks. The symptoms are:
Sore throat is a common complaint among many people who state they believe something is stuck in the throat along with numbness, a change in voice or hoarseness. You must let your dentist know if you have any of these symptoms, especially for about two weeks.
Many factors have been identified by researchers as a risk for developing oral cancer. The likelihood of men developing this problem more than women is nearly double. Excessive consumers of alcohol and smokers over the age of 50 are also high-risk candidates.
The HPV virus [human papilloma virus] which is transmitted sexually is also associated with throat cancers. Head and neck cancers among non-smokers are common, especially with the HPV positive variety. These are difficult to detect as they are often located at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils. The dentist in Bronx NY recommends oral cancer screening of the entire head and neck along with regular dental checkups for detecting cancer early.
During a routine dental exam, your dentist will question you about any changes in your medical history and also about whether you have been experiencing any new unusual symptoms. Your dentist will also check your oral cavity and examine your throat. Your jaw and neck will be examined for signs of any abnormalities or lumps.
You are advised to remain calm because your dentist will not be able to confirm right away that he or she has detected any cancerous lesions. They may refer you for further testing while asking you to return for another examination a couple of weeks later. You and your dentist can create the best strategy for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of oral cancer with the oral cancer screening conducted on you.
You must be aware of your risk factors if you wish to prevent oral cancer. Men are susceptible to fall prey to oral cancer as they age especially if they are smoking, consuming excessive alcohol, or having a poor diet. Changing these habits can reduce the chances of developing oral cancer. People that have had oral cancer before are likely to develop it again and therefore going for regular oral cancer screenings is also important. Studies are underway to understand if the HPV vaccine can prevent head and neck cancers but researchers still do not have sufficient data to confirm whether the HPV vaccine can act as a preventive measure for cancers of these types.