08 Apr 2016 Oral Cancer: What It Is and What You Should Know About It
While other cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer and even colon cancer receive a large amount of attention, oral cancer is a disease that can radically alter a patient’s life.
It tends to have one of the higher mortality rates when left unchecked, which means regular mouth cancer exams play a vital part in long-term patient survival.
As a dentist, we offer oral examinations of the mouth. Our exams include looking for the signs of oral cancer.
Let’s examine this disease in greater detail to better understand why diagnosis is key to long-term patient survival.
What is Mouth Cancer?
Cancer of the mouth is defined as any malignant growth in the oral region. It can develop on the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the jaw bone, the tendons, the gum tissue in the mouth, the throat and anywhere else there is biological tissue.
These growths tend to occur as the result of cellular mutations. Healthy cells routinely replicate before dying, which in turn gives rise to the possibility that certain cells will replicate improperly.
If these cells do mutate, they tend to be remove by the lymphatic system. Cancer develops when the body’s immune system is unable to remove these cells at a rate that is equal to the growth of these cancerous cells, which in turn leads to the development of tumors and other growths.
What are the Symptoms?
Cancer of the mouth presents itself in different ways. The most common sign of cancer is the unchecked growth of cells, which leads to deformations in the structure of the mouth.
Tumors on the tongue or gum are an example of this.
These growths can displace regular cells, which in turn leads to deformation of the tissue. They can interfere with the sensation of taste, cause a prolonged throbbing sensation, make simple tasks like talking or chewing more difficult, and countless other side effects.
The many symptoms that mouth cancer can present is why a trained professional is always required for a diagnosis.
How Can You Prevent It?
The best way to prevent cancer is to eat a healthy diet, to exercise, and to routinely see the proper medical professional. You should also engage in healthy oral hygiene to ensure that the cells of your mouth are strong enough to fend off cancerous cells.
Halting habits like smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and chewing betel nuts will further decrease your risk of developing cancer of the mouth.
How Do You Find Out If You Have It?
The best way to determine if you have oral cancer is to seek the diagnosis of a professional. A dentist can generally diagnose cancer of the mouth by looking for visible symptoms, or by utilizing a special test that seeks the presence of certain proteins produce by cancerous cells.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, or you notice any signs of pain or discomfort in your mouth, then you should schedule a dentist appointment with us immediately.
Any type of pain or discomfort typically signifies that something is wrong. The sooner you seek diagnosis, the sooner you can receive proper treatment. Seeking this treatment will lead to a better long-term prognosis.