Like all other types of cancer early detection of oral cancer not only improves the chances of survival, but the necessary treatments will likely be less radical.
1. Who is at Risk?
First question usually asked is who is at risk? Unfortunately the answer is everyone. There is no way to take a test or fill out a questionnaire and come away with a feeling of complete confidence that you will never contract this disease. By the same token, there are groups who are at higher risk than others.
Smokers are high on the list as are heavy drinkers.
Even some types of sexual activity can lead to this cancer.
Oral cancer can also be the result of cancers in other parts of the body that have metastasized to the mouth , throat and jaw area.
Although people in the fifty plus age group area higher risk, younger people also need to be vigilant.
The lesson here is- take the few simple steps to protect yourself, test yourself, see your medical professional regularly, in this case your dentist, and take action at the first sign of a problem.
2. What should I look for?
Because Oral Cancer affects the inside of the mouth, the tongue, throat and jaw it is unlike some other cancers that show up as a lump-as in breast cancer, or a wound that does not heal as in skin cancer or something obviously specific to the affected area of the body.
Oral Cancer can demonstrate some or all of these signs.
If you ever had a canker sore you know that this is a painful open lesion inside your mouth. Some types of oral cancer can appear the same as a canker sore but never assume that any abnormality is just a minor incident that will just go away.
Other signs that you may have Oral Cancer are trouble swallowing, burning sensations inside the mouth, slight numbness of the tongue or other surrounding areas. The bottom line is that should any of these symptoms occur you need to see your doctor immediately.
3. How do I Protect Myself?
As with any other health concern, the best course is to have regular checkups by your doctor. He or She has the skills and experience to spot problems well in advance and the extra lead time can be a life saver for you.
Dental professionals include cancer screening as part of their exam and that makes one more compelling reason to see your dentist twice a year. That bi annual checkup and cleaning not only gives you a brighter smile, it could actually save your life.
Cutting back on some of the known causes of oral Cancer such as smoking and drinking, and chewing tobacco are not only good ways to minimize the risk of cancer but make a you a healthier person overall and improve your quality of life.
Soft Touch Dental offer cosmetic dentistry in San Diego and we are dedicated to your wellness and will answer any questions you may have, contact us for any information on your dental hygiene needs.
Like any health issue, the primary responsibility is yours. You are the one to make sure you see your healthcare professional regularly, and you are the one responsible for taking the necessary steps to good health. Today Cancer is not the end as it may have been in the past, but just another treatable and beatable condition that we can overcome with the proper treatment.