ORAL CANCER

oral cancer treatment

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER?

The symptoms that are most commonly associated with oral cancer are:

  • The development of rough spots, bumps, crusts, or lumps inside the mouth or on the gums or lips. There could also be areas of skin that appear to have been eroded.
  • Persistent Earache
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • The loss of feeling, numbness, tenderness or pain in the mouth, neck or the face
  • Red, white, or speckled, velvety looking patches of skin in the mouth.
  • Sores in the mouth or on the neck and face that do not clear up within two weeks
  • A persistent sore throat or a sensation that something is stuck in the back of the throat
  • Changes in the voice or hoarseness
  • Difficulty moving the tongue, or the jaw, speaking, swallowing or chewing
  • Dramatic and unexplained loss of weight

Should you experience any of the above symptoms, you should visit a doctor or a dentist straight away.

WHO GETS ORAL CANCER?

Some 35,000 people in the US are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. The American Cancer Society says that men are twice as likely to have oral cancer as women are, and the greatest risk for both men and women, is when they are aged 50 or over.

The main risk factors associated with the development of oral cancer are:

  • Smoking
  • Other tobacco use, such as snuff and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive, unprotected exposure to sunlight
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • History of cancer in the family

It should be noted, however, that over 25% of oral cancers are diagnosed in people who don’t smoke at all and only drink in moderation.

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR PEOPLE WITH ORAL CANCER?

The one year survival rate for people diagnosed with oral cancer is 81%. The five year survival rate is 56% and the ten year survival rate is 41%.

How is oral cancer diagnosed?

When you have a regular dental examination, your dentist will check for any symptoms of oral cancer, such as lumps and bumps in your neck and face and for any discoloured tissue or any other of the signs that we mentioned above.

If your dentist does see anything suspicious, he may take a small sample of tissue for analysis, which is a painless procedure, or he may suggest a scalpel biopsy, which is usually conducted after a local anaesthetic has been administered.

How Is Oral Cancer Treated?

The treatment for oral cancer is the same as it would be for any type of cancer. Any cancerous growths will be removed by surgery and that will be followed up with chemotherapy and or radiotherapy.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT ORAL CANCER?

To reduce your risk of cancer, the following is advised:

  • Give up smoking or using any kind of tobacco product
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
  • Wear sunblock when in the sun and limit your exposure to sunlight

As with all forms of cancer, early detection is the key to effective treatment. Carry out a self-examination once a month; checking the inside of your mouth and on your face and your neck for any of the symptoms that we have listed above. Check your throat and under your jaw for any lumps and, if you notice any changes in the appearance of your mouth or any of the other symptoms, notify your Markham dentist immediately. The American Cancer Society also recommends that a full oral cancer screening be performed once every three years for people who are over the age of 20 and once a year for people over the age of 40.