Oral cancer includes cancers of the tongue, the hard and soft palate, the sinuses, the throat, and the cheeks and lips. It is a disease that can be life threatening if not diagnosed early enough, and oral cancer rates are increasing. One of the main problems with this condition is that it is frequently diagnosed when the cancer is already well advanced, and when the chances of a complete cure are greatly reduced.
What Are The Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
- The most common symptoms include:
- Sores in the mouth that fail to heal within two weeks, and which bleed easily
- Lumps, bumps and swellings in the mouth
- Rough patches of skin in the mouth
- Color changes to the soft tissues in the mouth, for example the development of red or white spots
- Difficultly in eating, chewing or swallowing
- Having a sore throat or feeling hoarse
- Noticing your teeth fit together slightly differently
- Certain areas of the face may become numb, or might feel painful or tender
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
Oral cancer screenings are a part of regular dental checkups. Your dentist will examine all the soft tissues in your mouth, and will check to see if the lymph nodes in your neck are swollen. If they find anything that looks suspicious then they will remove a few cells for closer examination. This is done with a brush biopsy, where a small brush is used to collect a few cells, or through removing a small sample of tissue for closer analysis. If anything suspicious is found then your dentist will refer you to an oral cancer specialist for further tests.
Early diagnosis of this disease is essential, and you can help yourself by keeping an eye out for any possible symptoms in between regular screenings. One of the most commons symptoms is noticing an ulcer or sore that fails to heal within a reasonable timeframe. It is always worth seeking professional dental advice to help eliminate the possibility of oral cancer.