In 2016, it was predicted that nearly 50,000 people would be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Oral cancer might not be the most common cancer, but you should never assume that you won’t be a victim. It is important to be aware of what oral cancer is and how you and your dentist in Sachse can work together to detect it early and stop it from becoming a devastating problem.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Simply put, oral cancer is cancer that appears anywhere in a patient’s mouth. The risk for oral cancer is twice as high among men as it is among women, but that by no means indicates that women should assume they won’t have to confront this condition.
Other risk factors for oral cancer include:
- People over age 40 are more likely to develop oral cancer.
- This is a sexually transmitted virus.
- A weakened immune system.
- Heavy alcohol use.
- Any type of tobacco use.
Warnings Signs of Oral Cancer
Every case of oral cancer is different, but if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, be sure to let your dentist know when you go in for a checkup:
- A sore that bleeds a lot or that does not heal.
- A lump or growth in the lining of your mouth.
- Thickening of the skin inside your mouth.
- Loose teeth.
- A change in the way your dentures fit.
- Pain in your tongue or jaw.
- Pain when you chew or swallow.
- A sore throat.
None of these symptoms by themselves signals oral cancer, but if any of them linger for two weeks or longer, it’s time to see a medical professional. Your dentist is likely to check for other causes behind your symptoms first, such as infection or injury.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
If you’re concerned you may have cancer, do a search for a “dentist near me” who is qualified to do an oral cancer screening. The screening may even be able to detect the cancer before any symptoms present themselves. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
There aren’t any standard procedures for oral cancer screenings, but your dentist may look for lesions. If he finds lesions, a follow-up test comes next. The test may be a toluidine blue stain, in which a dye is applied to the lesions. Darker areas are more likely to be cancer. Another test involves using a brush that collects cells from every layer of a lesion so they can be thoroughly examined.
The possibility of oral cancer is nothing to take lightly. Know the risk factors, look out for symptoms, and have regular examinations by your dentist in Sachse.
About the Author
Dr. Travis Rottman has been working as a dentist for over half a decade, and during that time he has established himself as a reputable professional in his field. Patients in Sachse, Wylie, and Murphy count on him to provide routine dental care and other procedures that are vital for ensuring excellent oral health. If you’re concerned about oral cancer or have other dental concerns, contact Dr. Rottman’s office at 972-848-0073.