Oral Cancer Screening
Cancer is identified by the uncontrollable growth of cells that cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer can appear as an inflamed sore in the mouth that does not go away. Our team at Rush Creek Dentistry can detect oral cancer in the following areas: lip, tongue, cheek, the floor of the mouth, and the hard palate.
What Are The Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
There are a few symptoms that can point to oral cancer, if you notice any of these changes be sure to schedule an exam with your dental professional. The first sign of oral cancer is a lump or bump on the lips, gums, or inside of the mouth. This can also be accompanied by soreness, swelling, crusts, or eroded developments that have red, white, or speckled coloring. Oral cancer can cause unexplained bleeding in the mouth and numbness in the surrounding area. A growth can cause a chronic sore throat or it can be responsible for causing slurred speech.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 50. Men's chances of developing oral cancer are more than twice that of women. Smokers are six times as likely to develop oral cancer compared to nonsmokers. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipe smoking will increase the possibility of developing cancer in your oral cavity. Marijuana smokers are also at a higher risk of oral cancer emerging. For those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol, oral cancer is also six times as likely. The combination of alcohol and tobacco use results in a much higher risk compared to either one alone. Excessive sun exposure will increase the risk of developing oral cancer affecting the lips. Finally, a family history of cancer and poor dietary habits can increase your risk for oral cancer.
What Are The Treatments Available?
When oral cancer is detected early, it will be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. For this reason, it is important to follow good oral hygiene habits and be sure to visit your dentist every six months for an exam and a cleaning. Knowing the state of your dental health and finding complications promptly is important especially if you are at risk of developing oral cancer. A newer treatment option is targeted therapy, this alternative uses other prescription drugs that precisely target and attack cancer cells. Your available treatments will depend on your general health, where the cancer began, the tumor’s size and type, and whether the cancer has spread. Your dentist will refer you to a specialist who can choose the best individual care plan for you. Other health care professionals who may help on your treatment path include oncology nurses, speech pathologists, mental health counselors, plastic surgeons, and reconstructive surgeons.
Where Can I Start?
Our dental health professionals at Rush Creek Dentistry encourage preventative dentistry and understand treatment plans for all dental problems. If oral cancer poses a risk for you, call our office now by dialing 682-277-0535 and allow us to be your trusted care provider.