Oral or mouth cancers affect thousands of people every year. If detected early, your chance to be cured completely is high. It is important not to skip your regular dental checkups since your dentist is the first one who will find out the early signs of oral cancer. It is important to listen to your body as well, so you can notify your dentist if you feel something different in your mouth. So, when should you worry? Let’s find out the signs you should pay attention to, how it happened, and the treatment options you have for mouth cancers.
Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancers
Early detection is very important in overcoming oral cancer. Please visit healthcare professionals immediately if one or more of these signs below persist for more than two weeks:
- Lumps or patches appear anywhere inside your mouth or on the lips or throat
- Red or white lesions inside the mouth or on the lips
- You feel there is a lump or something stuck in the throat
- Swollen gums
- Pain in the gums
- Pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth, tongue, inner cheek or lips
- Earache but you still can hear properly
- Difficulties in moving your jaw or tongue, pain that occurs when chewing, swallowing food or drink
- Difficulties in speaking
- Loose teeth when you actually don’t have any dental problems
- Sore throat that lasts for weeks
- Chronic mouth ulcers
What Causes Mouth Cancers?
There is no exact cause of oral cancer to date. Though the chance of getting it is higher for people who smoke heavily and even higher when tobacco use is combined with heavy alcohol consumption.
Who Is Affected By Mouth Cancers?
According to recent surveys, oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Most cases of this type of cancer occur in older adults aged 50 to 74. Less percentage is found in the lower age group. However, it does not mean that the lower age group should be less aware. It is very important for everyone to take good care of their mouth hygiene and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of colourful fresh vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, fruits, olive oil and fish, is recommended by the dietitian to prevent oral cancer.
How to Treat Mouth Cancers?
There are some common treatment options for mouth cancer. If detected early, patients only need a relatively minor surgery. Mohs surgery is the most common type of surgery. It has a very high possibility of curing cancer so it never comes back.
Even in cases of metastasized mouth cancer or cancer at later stages, advanced technologies in surgery, the recent innovation in radiotherapy, and latest medication offer higher chances of a cure these days. In general cases, a patient might need a combination of treatment of surgery, radiotherapy, and medication at least within the period of four months. While surgery is always the first option for cancer removal, this option is often combined with a course of radiotherapy or chemotherapy to help prevent cancer from returning in the future.
In some cases, a corrective surgery might be needed after the cancer removal procedure, especially if the surgery affects the patient’s physical appearance. Help from dietitians, speech and language therapists, and dentists may also be beneficial after treatment.
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