Oral cancer can be an incredibly devastating diagnosis. It is a kind of cancer that affects any component of the lips, mouth, or back of throat. It is important to understand the various factors associated with oral cancer. This can help you to protect your health and avoid factors that may increase your chances of developing this kind of cancer. Proper care and consideration can go a long way toward protecting your health and reducing the likelihood of substantial issues. Here is some important information that you need to know about oral cancer. Understanding these various factors will go a long way toward protecting your health.
Oral Cancer Statistics
Many people are relatively unaware of the prevalence of oral cancer. Understanding the statistics around this type of cancer can help to assure you of its importance. Approximately 35,000 American people are diagnosed with oral cancer each and every year. In addition to the 35,000 diagnoses, around 7,500 Americans die from oral cancer on an annual basis. It is incredibly important to take the steps to protect yourself from this type of cancer as much as possible. Though sometimes, these factors are outside of your control, there are many steps that you can take to improve your health.
Factors that Increase Risk
There are several factors that can increase the likelihood that you will develop oral cancer. While some of these factors are completely outside of your control, such as age and gender, most factors can be avoided to protect your health. Males tend to develop this cancer type more often than females. In fact, they are twice as likely to develop oral cancer! In addition, people who are over the age of 40 have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Though these factors are uncontrollable, here are some of the factors that can be controlled to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Following a healthy diet is incredibly important when it comes to reducing cancer risk, along with the risk of many other potential diseases. When you regularly eat unhealthily, you are much more likely to develop cancer.
Tobacco use is most often the culprit behind the development of oral cancer. It is crucial to quit using tobacco products to protect your health and lower your risk of developing cancer. Keep in mind that this isn’t limited solely to cigarettes. Oral cancer can occur as a result of the use of chewing tobacco, cigars, or any other products that contain tobacco. Sun exposure can significantly attribute to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, it can also improve the risk of oral cancer, because the lips can become burnt by sun exposure. Wearing the best lip balm with a high SPF level will help to protect your health. Another factor that will increase the risk of oral cancer is heavy drinking of alcohol. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink and quitting the use of tobacco products will help to improve your health.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate that oral cancer is developing. It is important to regularly inspect your throat, lips, and mouth for these signs. When you notice a red or white patch in these areas, you should consider the possibility of oral cancer. Lumps, thick patches, irritation, rough spots, and sores in these locations are also indications of the development of cancer. This type of cancer often results in additional problems with the components of the throat, jaw, and mouth. For example, an individual that is developing this kind of cancer may have difficulty swallowing or chewing their food. It may even become difficult to move the tongue or jaw, which further compounds the difficulty of eating. The sensation of something being stuck in the throat can also indicate that oral cancer is developing.
This type of cancer can lead to a tongue being painful or numb, along with swelling of the jaw. If an individual has dentures and they cease to fit correctly, it can indicate a problem with the oral health. However, it can also indicate that the dentures haven’t been cared for properly. Changes in the color of the mouth or sores on the mouth or lip that won’t heal may indicate oral cancer. This also applies to sores in these areas that bleed particularly easily. Oral health problems often result in issues with the ear. Pay particular attention if there is ear pain, but no loss of hearing. It is similarly important to be cautious if any of these symptoms has lasted longer than 2 weeks. This is often an indication that you need to see a professional.
The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
It is incredibly important to regularly visit your dentist. They will be able to provide thorough services to improve your oral health, especially if issues arise. Your dentist is also experienced in detecting the presence of oral cancer signs. During your regular examination, they will make sure to look for these potential signs. If the dentist identifies a suspicious area during your dental exam, they will more than likely perform a brush test. This test involves the collection of cells from the suspicious lesion. After the cells have been carefully collected, they will be sent to a lab for testing. This testing will indicate if the cells are pre-cancerous. The appropriate steps to take following the receipt of the results will be discussed with you by your dentist.
At Avenues Dentistry, we are passionate about taking the steps to protect your health. It is extremely important to visit us on a regular basis in order to identify possible issues early on. Most people need to visit their dentist every 6 months for superior protection. However, those that have many of the increased risk factors may be required to visit their dentist more regularly. Always listen to your dentist’s recommendations regarding visits and the treatments that your smile requires. If you need to schedule your regular dental examination with us, contact our expert team at Avenues Dentistry today!