The Truth About Oral Cancer: What You Need to Know

The Truth About Oral Cancer: What You Need to Know

May 04, 2022

The most common form of head and neck cancer is oral cancer. Generally, it affects people over 60 and older by affecting their lips and tongue, the roof of their mouth, and the floor. Oral cancer also affects your oropharynx, the final part of your tongue, your tonsils, and the sides and back of your throat.

Where Does Mouth Cancer Usually Start?

Mouth cancer can start in any part of your oral cavity or the head and neck. It is why you receive oral cancer screenings near you every time you visit your dentist for routine exams and cleanings. Most oral cancers start in the cells lining your mouth and throat and are classified as squamous cell carcinoma. There are four essential realities about oral cancer. They are:

1. Oral Cancer Has Three Stages

Oral cancer is divided into stages similar to other types of cancers. The TNM staging system helps base oral cancer. For example, the TNM staging system indicates the following.

The T indicates the size of the tumor.
The N stipulates whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes.
The M identifies whether the tumor has spread to other parts of your body.

You must undergo several tests to determine the stage of your cancer, including CT scans, MRI scans, x-rays, endoscopy, and PET scans.

2. Excessive Alcohol Drinkers and Smokers Are at High-Risk of Oral Cancer

Excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking, when combined, significantly increases your risk of oral cancer. Studies suggest smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers are 100 times more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don’t indulge in these habits.

3. Excessive Exposure to Sunlight Is Also a Risk

Sunlight exposure without wearing sunscreens or visiting tanning salons increases your chances of developing lip cancer. You can protect your lips from excessive sunlight exposure by wearing a lip balm with SPF. Oral cancer from ultraviolet rays has decreased in recent years because of the awareness created to utilize protection against the sun.

4. Early Diagnosis and Treatment Are Optimal to Deal with Oral Cancer

Early symptoms of oral cancer such as red and white patches in your mouth, painful sores, and persistent pain are often thought other health problems. Fortunately, if you are diligent with your dental care and see the dentist in 78148 frequently, it is an excellent method to ensure early detection of oral cancer and begin receiving treatments before the condition aggravates.

Oral cancer screening in Universal City, TX, shouldn’t cause any anxiety in your mind because it doesn’t indicate you are affected by oral cancer. When you visit the dentist for your routine appointment for dental exams, the professional also performs the screening without you realizing you have undergone a procedure unrelated to your teeth and gums. Dentists are the professionals you visit most frequently, and the professionals also receive training to identify signs of oral cancer in your mouth. The screening is completed in merely five minutes, and the dentist does not charge you extra for them. However, knowing that your mouth is free from devastating conditions undoubtedly provides peace of mind.

Mouth cancers, in most cases, are not malignant. However, if you have persistent or unexplained symptoms seeing your dentist at the earliest is your best opportunity to avoid complications. If you have oral cancer, getting the condition diagnosed and treated improves your chances of successfully beating the disease.

What Questions Can You Ask Your Dentist?

If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, you benefit by talking to your doctor to help you make informed decisions about your condition. Your healthcare provider is willing to answer all questions you might have, confirming that you mustn’t hesitate to ask if you have any apprehensions. For example, you can inquire about the type and stage of cancer affecting your mouth, the treatments available for the condition, the recommendations of your medical care provider, what steps you should follow, et cetera.

Oral cancer screenings performed by dentists are a preventive measure helping you diagnose issues in your mouth you think can never affect you. However, oral cancer can affect anyone regardless of whether they are exposed to the risks of the condition or not. Therefore you help yourself by preventing the disease from developing by undergoing regular screenings than being sorry if oral cancer is detected later.

If you are exposed to the risks of oral cancer and want to take precautionary measures, kindly schedule an appointment with Universal Dental to have your mouth, head, and neck evaluated as a preventive measure.