Oral cancer develops in the mouth in tissues of the mouth and throat. It can occur under the tongue, gums, tonsils, and other parts of the mouth. Oral cancer may affect over 51,000 Americans this year, with men being more susceptible to these cancers, although the means to minimize risks are available with the medical fraternity.
Over the past three decades, the fatalities from oral cancer have decreased. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment improve chances of survival in the affected individual. If you are at risk of oral cancer, you must continue reading this article to learn more about risk factors besides the signs and symptoms of oral cancer.
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer can vary between people. Some of the most common indicators include mouth sores and pain that doesn’t subside. Oral cancer also appears as red or white patches on the gums, the lining of the mouth, and the tonsils. If you are at risk of oral cancer, you may display the following signs in your mouth.
You may have lip or mouth sores that don’t heal.
Your dentist may discover a reddish or white patch inside your mouth during a routine dental exam, during which oral cancer screening is also included.
You may have loose teeth beside mouth pain, ear pain, and challenges when swallowing.
Growths or lumps inside your mouth are also detected.
Some other oral cancer signs include:
The medical fraternity has not been able to identify the causes of oral cancer. However, researchers believe cancers start after the cells in the mouth or lips develop mutations in their DNA. The DNA of a cell contains instructions on what to cell must do. Changes to the mutations intimate the cells to continue growing and dividing when the healthy cells die. The abnormal growth of mouth cancer cells form a tumor, spreading to other parts of the mouth and body with time.
Oral cancers usually begin in the squamous cells lining your lips and insides of your mouth. It is why most mouth cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Information isn’t available about what causes the mutations in the squamous cells leading to oral cancer. However, the medical fraternity has identified risk factors that increase the risk of oral cancer.
Some factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer include the following:
People aged over 45 are at a higher risk of oral cancer if exposed to radiation or have another type of cancer affecting them in the head or neck.
Oral cancer is among the most preventable type of cancers identified. The best way to prevent oral cancer is never to start smoking or stop immediately if you do so. You can also reduce your risks of oral cancer by:
Preventing oral cancer is practically impossible, but the steps mentioned above can help reduce your chances of being diagnosed with oral cancer. Visiting your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings permits you to identify oral cancer as the dentist includes oral cancer screening along with dental exams and cleanings. Dentists help to identify oral cancer in its earliest stages when any treatment delivers successful outcomes. You can request your dentist to examine your entire mouth for any areas indicating mouth cancer or precancerous lesions during regular dental exams. Remember, the screening is merely a preventive measure to ensure you are not affected or at risk of contracting oral cancer early.