Oral cancer, sometimes called mouth cancer, is one of the most ignored diseases.
It seems logical to assume this means the cancer is rare; this is unfortunately untrue. According to The American Cancer Association, in the year 2018, 51,540 people will be diagnosed oral cancer. 10,030 of those cases will be fatal. Oral cancer is similar to all other cancers, in that the key to protecting yourself against it is to recognize the symptoms early and get necessary treatment as soon as possible.
Lowry Main Street Dental wants to keep our patients safe by informing them with what they should know about oral cancer. Keep reading to learn more.
What is Oral Cancer?
All cancers have the same cause, cells begin to grow uncontrollably. The difference is that oral cancer begins in these regions:
- Floor of the mouth
- Roof of the mouth
- Inner lining of the cheeks
Signs of Oral Cancer
The only way to positively know whether you have cancer is to get diagnosed by a medical professional. However, in the meantime, it’s a good idea to watch out for these signs:
- Changes in speech, including lisp
- Ulcers that don’t heal within three weeks
- Looseness of teeth
- Unusual swelling, bumps, or lumps in or around your mouth, neck, and head
Preventing Oral Cancer
Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and especially both, increase your risk of oral cancer. If you received the HPV vaccination, Gardasil, this could help prevent oral cancer. A gender-neutral vaccination is currently being researched, but as of now, it is only available for females.
Another important factor? Making it to your dentist’s office for twice-yearly checkups! A dental professional will be able to tell if anything going on with your oral health is grounds for concern, and they can give you any additional care you may need.
Some other risk factors associated with oral cancer are second-hand smoke and poor diet.