It’s quite different when you keep tabs of your oral hygiene and you somehow embrace the stings of cancer. As heavy as that may sound, there are certain other factors that could influence your chances of getting oral cancer.
Just as the name sounds, Cancer occurs when your cell growth keeps multiplying thus invading the surrounding tissues of the body. Cancer affects any part of the body as cells are the building block of the body. When cancer affects the oral lesions of the mouth and its surroundings, it’s called oral cancer. They often appear as a concurrent sore that never goes away. Certain places where oral cancer occurs include the tip of the tongue, the cheeks, the floor of the mouth, the hazard and soft part, sinuses, and your throat. In severe cases, oral cancer can lead to death.
Moreso, mouth cancer can occur in severe types, however, these types are grouped into categories; the head and neck category. Nevertheless, treatment between these two categories are quite similar. Oral cancer is more popular than you can imagine. Research has proven that at least one in every dental visit has an oral cancer patient in the waiting.
The overall 5-year survival rate for patients with an early diagnosis of oral cavity and pharynx cancers is 84%. If the cancer has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate drops to 65%.
How Do I Know I Am Prone To Oral Cancer?
Are you a lover of tobacco products? Tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, pipes even to the least of chewing tobacco, then you need that dental check up often. Studies have proven that people who consume tobacco and alcohol in large quantities are much more affected by cancer than other risk factors like:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Chronic Facial Sun Exposure
- Previous Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
- Genetic History
- Weak Immune System
- Poor Nutritional Diet
- Being A Male : Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer as women are.
How Would I Know I May Have Cancer?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may likely have oral cancer. However, you should, it is essential that you do a proper diagnosis with a doctor:
- Any form of swelling, lumps or rough surface in any part of the mouth.
- Presence of whitish reddish substances like patches in the mouth.
- Unexpected and unexplained bleeding from the mouth.
- Loss of feel in a particular area of the mouth
- Recurrent sores (sores difficult to heal) in the neck , mouth or associated area.
- Difficulty while swallowing or chewing.
- Ear pain
- Change in the teeth or dentures
- Weight Loss
If you notice any of the symptoms, kindly contact a dentist here.
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
In our dental clinics in Lagos and Abuja, we do everything possible to look out for symptoms first before taking other measures. During your visit, you are asked several questions to help ascertain the healthiness of your mouth. Then, a dentist conducts a routine dental exam which includes an oral screening test. The dentist would check for any symptom of tissue disorder in your mouth and its surroundings.
To further help with investigations, a biopsy would be used to determine a final say to any part of your mouth that has shown any of the symptoms mentioned above. There are several types of biopsies, however, it is up to the dentist to determine what type he would use. The most common type is brush biopsies. However, a scalpel biopsy is used for further confirmations. A laser could also be used to carry out a biopsy.
How Is It Treated?
All cancerous cells are treated the same way. They are often defeated through surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy and drugs.
How To Prevent It.
To avoid oral cancer, avoid excessive intake of tobacco and alcohol. Feed properly. Limit your exposure to the sun.
You can also take charge of your oral health as well as taking a self assessment test. To carry out a self assessment test. You would need a mirror. Using bright light, look and feel your lips and gums. Tilt your head back and look at the roof of your mouth to see if there are any anomalies. Pull your cheek a bit and check the linings and also the back of your gums.
Pull out your tongue and look at all the surfaces including the edges. Look at the back of your throat and feel them with clean hands. Lastly, always have that dental appointment.