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Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

What Is Oral Cancer? 

Oral cancer refers to any cancerous tissue growth located in the oral cavity. It may occur on the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), potentially leading to severe complications if not diagnosed and treated early. 

Symptoms of Oral Cancer 

Recognizing the symptoms of oral cancer early increases the chances of successful treatment. Common signs include: 

  • Sores in the mouth that do not heal within two weeks 
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth 
  • White or red patches on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth 
  • Swelling, lumps, or bumps on the lips or gums 
  • Chronic sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat 
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing 
  • Jaw pain or stiffness 
  • Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth 
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable 

Causes and Risk Factors of Oral Cancer 

The exact cause of oral cancer is not always clear, but several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease, including: 

  • Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff, among others. 
  • Heavy alcohol consumption. 
  • Excessive exposure to the sun, which increases the risk of lip cancer. 
  • A history of significant, long-term sun exposure, which can increase the risk of lip cancer. 
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. 
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables. 
  • Chronic irritation (such as from rough teeth, dentures, or fillings). 

What are the treatment options for oral cancer? 

Treatment for oral cancer depends on the type, location, and stage of the cancer at diagnosis. Treatment options may include;  

  • Surgery. 
  • Radiation therapy. 
  • Chemotherapy. 
  • Or a combination of these treatments. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q. How can I prevent oral cancer? 

A. Preventative measures include avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, protecting lips from the sun using SPF, and undergoing regular dental check-ups that include oral cancer screenings. 

Q. Is oral cancer contagious? 

A. No, oral cancer is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted from person to person. However, the HPV virus, a risk factor for some types of oral cancer, can be spread through sexual contact. 

Q. How often should I get screened for oral cancer? 

A. It is recommended to get screened for oral cancer during your regular dental check-up, which should be once every six months. However, if you have a higher risk of oral cancer due to factors such as tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, or a history of oral cancer, more frequent screenings may be recommended. 

Early detection of oral cancer significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. Regular visits to your dentist, avoiding risk factors, and paying attention to the signs and symptoms can help catch oral cancer at an early stage. If you have any concerns or symptoms related to oral cancer, please contact Concierge Dental today to schedule an appointment for a screening. 

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