Annually, there are over 50,000 residents of North American who are diagnosed with throat or oral cancer. Research has shown that these cancers have a higher fatality rate compared to other common cancers such as testicular cancer, cervical cancer, thyroid cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and skin cancers. The reason there are more fatalities attributed to oral cancer is that many people who suffer from this ailment rarely know they have the disease until it is too late. Often, oral cancer is usually diagnosed when it has already spread to other parts of the body, mostly to the lymph nodes found in the neck.
Given that people who contract oral cancer do not feel pain and it is not easily diagnosed until it is too late, most oral cancer patients only know they are ailing when they start experiencing chronic pain or loss of function in certain body parts. Dr Kern and our team of medical experts at Kern Family dental have some good news though. If your oral cancer is detected early, your chances of survival can improve by above 80%.
If you are a regular at our dental practice in Olympia-WA, you may have already gotten screened for oral cancer unknowingly. Oral cancer screens are quick and painless. On visiting our dental practice, Dr. Kern and our team usually check your mouth and neck for any signs of early on-set oral cancer. Some of the main signs that we watch out for include lumps, discolorations and any changes in your oral tissues. Remember oral cancer typically manifests on the gums, lips, floor of your mouth, tongue or the tissues located behind the tongue.
What Are Some Predisposing Factors That Put You at Risk of Contracting Oral Cancer?
• Use of tobacco-based products
Smoking cigars, cigarettes, a pipe or chewing tobacco put you at high risk of contracting oral cancer. Tobacco contains carcinogens which are harmful to your oral health putting you at high risk of developing oral cancer.
• Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
People who consume alcoholic beverages excessively (more than 21 drinks weekly) are usually at a high risk of developing oral cancer. According to data from the Oral Cancer Foundation, alcohol abuse is the second biggest risk factor to getting oral cancer.
• Excessive exposure to sunlight
People who spend a lot of time outside and do not protect themselves adequately with lip balm and sunscreen are usually at a great risk of getting lip cancer. Excessive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can also make one contract melanoma – The deadliest type of skin cancer.
Oral cancer mostly tends to affect older people because they usually have been exposed to predisposing factors for longer. In fact, research shows that most oral cancer patients are above 40 years.
Men are more likely to develop oral cancer compared to women.
• People who have suffered from viral infections in the past such as HPV are more likely to develop oral cancer.
• People who consume a diet that does not include vegetables and fruits are more likely to get oral cancer.
Even as your visit our dental practice for checkups, you should watch out for some of the symptoms that we have outlined below. If you are displaying symptoms that persist for over two weeks, you should give us a call without delay.
• A persistent oral irritation or sore
• Red and white patches in your mouth
• Numbness, tenderness or pain n your mouth or on your lips
• Difficulty chewing and swallowing food
• Difficulty moving your tongue, jaw or speaking
• A change in the alignment of your teeth when your mouth is closed
On your next visit, the Dental Care Associates of Buffalo will carry out an in-depth examination to determine if you are displaying any signs of oral cancer. If you have don’t have regular checkups scheduled with our dental experts at the Buffalo MN practice, you should get in touch so that we can schedule appointments. Remember that regular checkups can help you avoid developing oral cancer since we will be able to identify if you are displaying any signs and symptoms early. Stay on the safe side by scheduling an appointment today.