The Facts About Oral Cancer
Just as with any type of malignant tumors, oral cancers can be deadly if they are able to spread. Unfortunately, most oral cancers aren’t caught until they show up in the lymph nodes or some other area in close proximity to the mouth. It’s important to know what symptoms may indicate oral cancer so that you will know when to consult with a dentist.
Regular checkups with your dentist can help you catch any malignancies early, before they’ve spread to other nearby structures. Cancer is generally more treatable the earlier it is caught. This is yet another compelling reason to get yourself to the dentist’s office very six months or so.
When examining the mouth for signs of oral cancer, dentists will be on the lookout for suspicious lesions, bleeding sores that have not healed, or thickenings or lumps. You can keep an eye out for any of these symptoms at home, too, and be sure to bring them to your dentist’s attention.
Possible indicators of oral cancer will get significant attention during your dental exam, and a tissue sample will be taken and sent for biopsy if the dentist has any concerns. Often these spots turn out to be harmless, but it is truly better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a potentially cancerous area in your mouth.
Patients who are diagnosed with cancer may undergo radiation in the area. This can leave those patients with dry mouth issues, which can put them at greater risk for certain oral diseases, like tooth decay and gum disease. Anyone receiving radiation treatment for oral cancer should consult with their dentists about maintaining a home oral hygiene routine and strategies for keeping the mouth moist.
Certain habits will put you at an increased risk for oral cancer, especially tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you should be extra conscientious about staying on top of your scheduled dental appointments. You should also be vigilant about looking for signs of oral cancer when you look in the mirror.
For more information, contact the office of Dr. Melisa Christian at 214-522-4330 and schedule your next professional dental exam.