Cancer is the uncontrollable cell growth that occurs in various parts of the body that leads to tissue damage. Unfortunately, the oral cavity is one of the places in the body where cancer can develop. If you want to know more about oral cancer symptoms, stages, screenings and treatment or want to know if you’re at risk for this condition, here are a few things you need to know.
Oral Cancer Stages
Oral cancer starts with a sore or growth on the mouth that doesn’t heal over time. Cancer can occur in various parts of the mouth and oral cavity, including the throat, tongue, lips, soft palate, or sinuses. When this condition is detected in the early stages and a treatment plan can be implemented right away, there’s a great chance that this cancer won’t be life-threatening.
In addition to sores bleeding and not healing after a two week period, swelling in the lips and mouth can be an indication as well. Other oral cancer stages include a sore throat or a hoarseness that doesn’t subside.
As cancer progresses, some individuals find that it’s harder to speak, swallow or chew. A shift in the way dentures or teeth fit together can also be an indication that this type of cancer exists. Pain in the ears and bleeding gums can also be signs in its middle to late stages of the disease if not detected early.
Getting an Oral Cancer Screening
If you have a history of oral cancer in your family or you’ve recently stopped smoking, drinking or using tobacco products, it’s a good idea to get an oral cancer screening. If you’re a man and have any of these risk factors, it’s best to get a test for this type of cancer as soon as possible, since men are 50% more likely to develop the disease than women. Oral cancer is more common in people over the age of 50, and about 8,000 people die from this disease every year. Individuals who were exposed to excessive sunlight in their younger years and those who have HPV are also more likely to develop this cancer later in life. In the past, oral cancer screenings mainly consisted of checking for cancerous lumps, but by this point, cancer has already progressed; there’s a 45% chance of death if the cancer is diagnosed in the later stages.
Oral Cancer Treatment
According to WebMD, people with this type of cancer have an 81% survival rate after the first year of diagnosis, regardless of the stage of cancer they’re in. These patients also have a 56% survival rate after five years and a 41% rate of survival after 10 years. Since the chances of survival are significantly reduced as the year’s progress, it’s important to get effective oral cancer treatment as early as possible.
Chemotherapy and radiation are the main treatment options. However, there are also a few preventative steps that can be taken, such as abstaining from smoking and binge drinking and limiting sun exposure.
Those who are at risk are also encouraged to check for sores or redness in the mouth area once per month. It’s also very important to visit the dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings so that treatment can begin promptly if necessary.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms noted above it is imperative to get an oral cancer screening right away. At Maiden Lane Dental we provide oral cancer screenings. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff are here to help you. Contact us. We are located in NYC and have been providing expert screenings and care throughout NYC, the Financial District, Brooklyn, Queens as well as the surrounding states of NJ, Connecticut and beyond.