In today’s world, one of the most frightening diagnoses to receive is cancer. There are no words for the fear and feeling of this terrible sickness. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, improved education and treatment on the subject, it CAN, in many cases, be defeated. However, it’s always good to know the warning signs in order to catch and treat it as quickly as possible. That’s why today, we’re going to learn about the signs and causes of oral cancer. The term “oral cancer” refers to cancer in any part of the mouth or throat. This includes cheeks, tongue, the throat, roof, and floor of the mouth.
Signs of oral cancer to watch for:
A sore that won’t heal. This, as well as persistent pain, are the most common signs of oral cancer. The tongue and mouth tissue heals very quickly, so if you are having a constant sore in the same place for no other reason, it is a good idea to get it checked as soon as possible.
A feeling of soreness and/or blockage in the throat that won’t go away. The important thing to remember as we continue is that all these signs would be persistent and carry on for a number of days or weeks. Don’t be paranoid, but do use good judgement.
Sudden weight loss is another sign of oral cancer. Be aware of your general health as well as your oral health so you can get checked out if this happens.
A patch of thickening tissue, or a lump in the cheek. This is something else to keep an eye out for when looking for signs of oral cancer. A red or white patch in the mouth is also possible when oral cancer is present.
You may find chewing and swallowing difficult if you develop oral cancer. This may also include difficulty in moving the jaw and tongue as well.
Other signs include voice changes, numbness in any part of the mouth or throat, loosening teeth, swelling, and persistent bad breath.
Remember that these symptoms would be persistent and some are related to other issues, so never self-diagnose. Always consult your dentist and/or you primary care physician if you have any concerns.
Now, let’s talk about some risk factors of oral cancer:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Heavy use of alcohol.
- A compromised immune system.
- Excessive sun exposure.
Age and gender are also a factor. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer, and a larger percentage of all diagnoses occur over the age of fifty.
Keep in mind that none of these are a guarantee of oral cancer. They are simply risk factors that heighten the chances. It is, however, always a good idea to cut out tobacco, shield from direct sun, and use alcohol in moderation. Another way to better your chances against oral cancer is to keep your diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
I hope this has been an insightful read for you. Always keep dental and general healthcare visits regular, and remember to brush and floss daily!