Catching cancer early provides the best chance for effective treatment and a relatively quick return to health. While some signs can point to a potential cancer case, professionals like doctors and dentists have the necessary knowledge to determine whether a person suffers from cancer or another less serious condition. This is particularly true in cases where many of the symptoms of the cancer are shared by a variety of other health conditions, as with oral cancer.
The Basics of Oral Cancer
Because dentists look closely into your mouth on a regular basis and keep a record of any dental issues you may have, they are the most likely individuals to discover oral cancer. Doctors diagnose more than 50,000 people each year with oral cancer, which can be located anywhere in the mouth or throat in either the soft or hard tissue. Men have a higher risk than women, especially if they are over 50, use any type of tobacco, have HPV, or drink heavily. However, up to one-fourth of all oral cancers occur in people who don’t use tobacco or drink to excess, so don’t assume a healthy lifestyle means you’re safe. Using a lip balm that includes sunscreen can help limit the risk of cancer developing on the lips, and following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can also limit your risk. with some Dentists Open On Saturdays, there’s no reason to put off getting your check-up.
Signs to Watch For
In between your regular dental check-ups, you may want to keep an eye out for any signs of oral cancer by doing a self-check and examining all visible parts of your mouth in the mirror about once a month. Potential signs include sores that don’t heal, lumps in the mouth or throat, pain in the mouth or throat, and difficulty swallowing. Red or white patches inside the mouth could also be signs of oral cancer. These symptoms might be indicative of other less serious problems, but if you notice one of them and it doesn’t disappear within a couple of weeks, you should get checked out by your dentist or a doctor. These professionals can determine what’s going on and may test any suspicious lumps or sores to see if they are cancerous. It takes some time to get the results back from the lab, so you won’t necessarily find out immediately.
Since oral cancer is a broad term that includes cancers in various parts of the mouth and throat, the five-year survival rates vary. When detected early before cancer has spread from the original location, these survival rates range anywhere from 75 to 93 per cent. However, if the cancer isn’t detected early and has spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate decreases by quite a bit, which is why early detection is so important. If cancer is detected, treatment may include surgery to remove any cancerous tissue, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or targeted drug therapy. The exact treatment will depend on the location and stage of cancer.
As you can see, your dentist is the first line of defence against oral cancer. Stick to a regular schedule of getting check-ups every six months since the dentist looks for signs of cancer during these visits. These regular visits aren’t just meant to keep your teeth healthy, the dentist also works to keep your whole mouth healthy.