No one wants to talk about cancer, but the unfortunate reality is that cancers of all types are of real concern to practically everyone. One common form of the disease is oral cancer, and while it is impossible to be completely immune to it, there are some behaviors and factors that can increase your risk. The more you know, the better you can fight against this disease, so here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
What Are the Tell-Tale Signs?
While these symptoms do not always signal the presence of oral cancer, it is good to be aware of them and to take action if they appear.
Everyone gets canker sores and the like, but sores that linger for more than 14 days should be promptly addressed by a dental professional. If you notice swollen glands or lumps on your neck or throat or if you have patchy red or white spots in your mouth, seek immediate attention by scheduling an appointment with your dentist or your physician.
The appearance of a red or white patch in your mouth from an unknown source can also indicate a problem.
In addition, difficulty swallowing when your have no apparent cold or flu symptoms can also signal that something may be wrong.
Who is at Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Those who are regular smokers and people who drink on a frequent basis are at a higher risk for getting oral cancer. Adults over age 50 should always be aware of the risks, and it's a good idea to get routine check-ups on a consistent basis.
Recent studies suggest that being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increases a person's chances of getting oral cancer, making people younger than 50 prone to the disease well. A number of studies are being carried out to discover more ways to treat and prevent oral cancer.
How Do Dentists and Doctors Treat Oral Cancer?
A multi-stage treatment method is typically administered for oral cancer patients. Many people require a combination of oral surgery and radiation therapy. It is also common to have chemotherapy treatments, which can prevent metastasis (the spreading of the cancer).
In addition to these solutions, other healthcare professionals will collaborate to treat the patient, such as nutritionists, rehabilitation specialists and dentists. The good news is that this form of cancer is highly treatable and can be cured.
Take the necessary precautions to identify oral cancer quickly by speaking with your local dental professional about any concerns. In addition, if you have not been screened for oral cancer within the past year, schedule a dental appointment today.