DIAGNOSING AND TREATING ORAL CANCER
Oral cancer is not a common problem like other mouth problems and infections, but that does not mean it is non-existent. In the U.S alone, about 53,260 adultsare expected to be diagnosed with oral cancer, with the number of men almost double as that of women. Oral cancer is the commonest cancer among men and is more easily experienced with people above 55.
Oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth and of the throat. In the mouth, the lips, gums, tongues, inner cheek linings, the hard and soft palate of the mouth, and the sinuses. For the throat, it includes cancer of the Pharynx.
Oral cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the mouth that causes damages to tissues around it. If not screen and diagnosed, oral cancer early can become very complicated and life-threatening. There are various causes of oral cancer and outlying symptom. We will outline some of these symptoms to make you alert and run a fast diagnosis whenever they are noticed.
SOME COMMON CAUSES OF CANCER
There are common habits or circumstances that increase the risk of contracting oral cancer, and these include:
Alcohol and tobacco usage. Whether cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or Tobacco chewing, the probability of getting cancer increases with the use of Tobacco. Excessive alcohol consumption also causes the development of cancer cells.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that has been alleged to cause oral cancers.
Age. Oral cancers have been linked with age, with most patients having the disease been around the age of 40 and above.
Excessive Sun Exposure. Too much exposure to the sun can lead to Lip cancer.
A Weakened Immune System. This is actually one cause of oral cancer. A weakened system will not be able to build immunity against cancer cells.
There are also symptoms to watch out for to weigh if you might have oral cancer in its earliest stage. These include;
A sore in the lip or mouth that does not heal
The gradual development of white, reddish, or speckled patches inside the mouth
Bleeding in the mouth
Mouth pain and Ear pain
Difficult or painful swallowing
A growth, Swellings, or lumps on the gums, lips, cheek lining, or other parts of the mouth
DIAGNOSING ORAL CANCER
Normally, if you visit your dentist for regular check-ups, it will be easy to spot a cancer cell at its basest stage, as it is part of the screening and examination of a standard check.
However, if you do not carry out regular appointments with a dentist and have any of the symptoms at any part of your mouth, you should immediately visit a dentist.
In carrying out a diagnosis, your dentist will have to do any of the following:
Your dentist will have to investigate your mouth for any abnormalities physically. He will need to feel for swellings, lumps, or unusual tissue changes in your face, neck, head, and oral cavity. He will also be on the lookout for irritations, discolored tissues, and sores.
A Tissue Test (Biopsy)
If an area looks suspicious, your dentist may have to extract tissue from the area and run a laboratory Test known as Biopsy. This will help identify if the area has cancer cells or is vulnerable and how it can be averted.
The cancer treatment will depend on the location of the cancer cells and the stage of diagnosis. One type of treatment may be enough to treat the cells or require a combination of procedures. The different treatments include:
Minor surgery may be required to take off small cancer cells, while it may require a complex procedure to cut off cells that have spread deeply into other areas. Complex procedures may lead to losing some parts of the jawbones, tongues and even have after-effects complications like cavity issues.
Radiation uses high-energy beams such as x-rays to kill cancer cells in their earliest stage. It can be administered as a standalone procedure or combined as a follow up treatment after surgery. It can, however, lead to a dry mouth, tooth decay, and Jawbone.
Chemotherapy is a kind of treatment that uses chemicals to destroy cancer cells. It can be administered alone or as a combination with radiotherapy. Some common side effects are hair loss, vomiting, and nausea.