What is Oral Cancer?

: female patient learning her oral cancer treatment options from female specialist

Oral cancer is also referred to as mouth cancer. It is any type of cancer that forms in the soft tissues of a person’s mouth, gums, lips, and jaw. It is difficult to detect whether you have oral cancer on your own. In addition to this, it is a rapidly spreading cancer when it isn’t treated. While being diagnosed with oral cancer is serious, early detection of the disease makes it more likely that it will be able to be treated successfully. A specialist in Maryland is available to help screen for any abnormal signs pointing toward oral cancer. Your specialist can also treat oral cancer, as well as any kind of cyst, tumor, or any other type of pathological process. Our team is here to educate you on oral cancer causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

It’s important to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages. Don’t put off receiving the care you need. Schedule an appointment or request a referral to a specialist at Greater Maryland Oral Surgery & Dental Implants today!

 How Do You Know if You Have Oral Cancer?

If you know the signs of oral cancer, you will be able to contact your dentist for a prompt oral cancer screening that could help increase your odds of successful treatment. Common symptoms of the disease include:

  1. Ulcers or sores that do not heal within three weeks
  2. An irritation or thick patch in your mouth, lip, or throat
  3. White or red patches in your mouth
  4. Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth

 What Are the Causes of Oral Cancer?

Risk factors are anything that increases a person’s chance of developing oral cancer. While the majority of oral cancer cases are linked to a person participating in certain lifestyle choices, there are other causes of oral cancer that are unknown.

 Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is one of the most common causes of oral cancer. In fact, two out of every three diagnoses of oral cancer are directly linked to tobacco use. The longer you utilize tobacco products, the higher your risk will be. The type of tobacco that you use also influences where oral cancer can form. If you use chewing tobacco, you are at a greater risk of having cancer develop within the gums, cheeks, and lips. If you smoke, there is an increased risk of cancer forming in the lips and soft palate.

 Alcohol Use

Those who consume over 21 alcoholic drinks per week are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with oral cancer. Those who combine heavy alcohol use with tobacco are six times more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer than those who do not.

 

 Other Risk Factors

The other risk factors for oral cancer are:

  1. Gender: Two-thirds of the people diagnosed with oral cancer are male.
  2. Age: Oral cancer is most often found in people over the age of 45.
  3. Prolonged sun exposure.
  4. Ill-fitting dentures that cause irritation.
  5. Poor diet, especially one that lacks fruits and vegetables.
  6. Radiation exposure.
  7. Previous head and neck cancer diagnosis.

 

 Can You Tell Me How Oral Cancer is Treated?

If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, you will probably be treated by a team of specialists. This team will include your regular dentist and specialists known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. An oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer) is usually a part of the treatment team too.

When you are referred to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon for oral cancer treatment, he or she will first book a consultation with you. The consultation will consist of a thorough examination and x-rays. This consultation will assist your oral surgeon in determining the best type of surgery to perform for your particular case. While many surgeries are performed at your specialist’s office, there are more complicated surgeries that may require going to your local hospital. When you have your surgery, your oral or maxillofacial surgeon will conduct a biopsy. This procedure takes some or all of the abnormal tissues out of the mouth. Those tissues are then sent to a laboratory so that a precise diagnosis and prognosis can be determined.

Treatments for oral cancer range from being as simple as removing the affected area, to more complicated treatment plans that consist of several steps that include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It’s important to understand that oral cancer treatment isn’t a one-step-fits-all process. Each treatment plan is unique.

It’s important to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages. Don’t put off receiving the care you need. Schedule an appointment or request a referral to a specialist in Maryland today!

 

Prevent Oral Cancer

Fortunately, oral cancer is considered to be a preventable type of cancer. Most of the cases that are diagnosed can be directly linked to lifestyle choices. To lessen your risk of oral cancer, you should avoid using any sort of tobacco. You should also see your dentist twice a year for cleanings, checkups, and oral cancer screenings. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you have dentures, you should be sure to remove them from your mouth at night and to give them a thorough cleaning at least once a day. Other things you can do to prevent oral cancer are to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun, as well as to wear lip balm containing sunscreen in it. Wearing a hat when you have to be outdoors for lengthy time periods can also help. Consuming a well-rounded diet full of fruits, vegetables, and omega-3s can also assist in preventing oral cancer.

 

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 48,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Remember, early detection is essential when it comes to treating this disease!

 

It’s important to catch oral cancer in its earliest stages. Don’t put off receiving the care you need. Schedule an appointment or request a referral to a specialist at Greater Maryland Oral Surgery & Dental Implants today!