“Oral Cancer” – Two words that are so devastating to most people. BUT TAKE HEART! Read the following on the dangers of it, who is at risk, testing for it and, best of all, the treatment of it to learn how you can deal with it if you have it and ways of preventing it if you haven’t. We here at our Bradford Family Dental Clinic provide you with the latest techniques which help in preventing oral cancer and we concentrate on your overall health, well-being and maximum comfort.
Oral cancer is THE largest group of the cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category and some other names for it are mouth cancer, tongue cancer and throat cancer. Oral Cancer usually appears on the bottom lip, inside the mouth, the back of the throat, the tonsils or salivary glands and some signs of it are sores, lumps in the cheek, numbness, white or red patches, problems chewing or swallowing, a feeling of something caught in the throat, jaw swelling or change in voice. If you experience any of these symptoms, CALL THE CLINIC IMMEDIATELY as we have the equipment necessary to detect any early signs of oral cancer. The Velscope is a non-intrusive instrument our clinic uses for early cancer detection.
How Serious is Oral Cancer?
Following is a list of how common and how serious oral cancer really is:
- It is the 6th most common cancer and represents about 3.6% of all cancers diagnosed
- There are roughly 30,000 new cases of it reported annually
- It can lead to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement and death
- Oral cancer accounts for almost 9,000 deaths annually
- It has one of the worst five-year survival rates – only about 54%
- Fewer than ½ of all oral cancer patients are cured simply because it is usually not diagnosed early enough
Those at Risk for Oral Cancer:
- No 1 is those who smoke
- Then those who use spit tobacco
- Those who chew betel quid or paan
- Those who drink excessive alcohol
- People older than 45 are in the majority of those who get it
- Men are more likely than women to develop it
- Anyone prone to persistent viral infections such as HPV
- Excessive exposure to sun
- Risk factors for Oral Cancer can also be genetically inherited
When the use of alcohol and tobacco use are combined, it increases the
risk of Oral Cancer 15 times more than for non-users.
So obviously, some of the things you can do to prevent it are:
- First and most important, see us for an oral cancer screening and regular checkup at least every six (6) months
- Do not smoke, use spit tobacco, chew betel quid or paan or drink excessive alcohol
- Do not combine alcohol and tobacco
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to help safeguard yourself
- Limit your exposure to the sun
YOU are the most important factor in testing for oral cancer and providing for an early diagnosis. Along with 6 month checkups, we again give you a list of symptoms to alert you to the need for an immediate checkup…it may not be Oral Cancer but any change needs to be examined.
- A mouth sore that does not heal within 2 weeks
- A lump or thickening in your cheek’
- A white or red patch on gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or the feeling of something caught in it
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Numbness of tongue or other area or your mouth
- Swelling of your jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or be uncomfortable
Determining and Treating Oral Cancer:
- The Velscope is a screening device approved by the WHO for early cancer detection.
- A biopsy of the sore or lesion is done to confirm the diagnosis
- Surgery is required to remove the tumors
- Radiation therapy may be used as part of your treatment