Oral cancer is a severe condition affecting thousands of people worldwide. Despite its seriousness, people are more focused on the well-known types of cancer. It’s also easy to overlook dental habits and oral care because of the modern standard of a fast-paced lifestyle.
Here are some essential oral cancer facts that you should know:
The Nature of Oral Cancer
Basically, oral cancer is part of a group of cancers that is commonly referred to as “head and neck” cancers. These cancers comprise approximately 85% of cases in the category. Oral cancer is deadly because of its potential to metastasize and affect your general quality of life.
It’s also easy to overlook oral cancer because its symptoms mimic other simple health conditions. Thus, you need to be observant if you suspect that you have oral cancer. Exams are essential for greater accuracy and avoidance of double-guessing. Keep in mind that time is critical because oral cancer can be deadly at its later stages, so you need to get an exam immediately.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Most cancers are the inherent result of genetics. However, the HPV16 virus can increase your chances of getting oral cancer along with poor dental habits. Oral cancer will usually manifest in the posterior part of your mouth, affecting parts like the tonsils and the base of the tongue. It’s difficult to see lesions and physical changes in these areas, so you need a comprehensive oral exam from your dentist.
Take note of the common symptoms of oral cancer:
– Pain (mouth, gums, jaw, and the tongue)
– Sores on different areas of the mouth
– Growths, lumps, or thickening of the skin
– Changes in the lining of the mouth
– Poorly fitting dentures
– General stiffness
– Trouble chewing food
– Primary tumours
– The manifestation of secondary tumours
Knowing the symptoms of oral cancer early will improve your chance of winning against the disease. So, be observant but not panicky.
All About Oral Cancer Exams
The best way to know if you have oral cancer is to get an examination. Before the exam, dentures and removable dental appliances are usually removed. This ensures that all areas of the mouth are visible without any hindrance. Every comprehensive exam involves a detailed medical history that covers your general dental health status and other related habits.
These are the oral cancer guide questions that you will encounter:
– Has there been a recent change in your voice?
– Has swallowing become any harder for you lately?
– Do you feel any obstructions whenever you swallow?
– Are you experiencing, or have you experienced any episodes of hoarseness?
– How frequent was the hoarseness, or how long did it last for?
– Do you feel any lumps on the side of your neck?
– Have you had any earaches, especially on one side?
Your dentist will probably add more questions throughout the examination. Make sure that you’re prepared to answer all questions honestly to ensure accurate results.
Coping With Oral Cancer
What’s next after getting diagnosed with oral cancer? Well, it’s reasonable to be scared and anxious. But keep in mind that oral cancer shouldn’t stop your life. Work with your dentist to come up with possible solutions.
Don’t forget to discuss your situation with your friends and relatives. They can help lighten the weight and keep you empowered through your battle. Now is also the perfect time to practice gratitude and enjoy every passing moment of your life. Take the struggle one day at a time, and don’t ever give up!
Oral cancer, or any type of cancer, requires immediate action. Don’t take your health and vitality for granted! The small details matter a lot, so pay attention to any new symptoms. When in doubt we recommend that you book a dental exam with our Fairway Dental Urgent Care Clinic.
Contact us today if you have any questions or if you’d like to book an appointment.