What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is defined as the uncontrollable division of cells that have the ability to cause damage to the affected areas as well as the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer refers to cancers in the oral cavity including the lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, floor and roof of the mouth. Oral cancer can also be found in the middle region of the throat, the tonsils, and base of the tongue. With early detection through regular screenings with a dentist in Plainville, this gives you or your loved ones the best chance at a successful outcome.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- A sore that won’t go away
- Red or white patches
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening with Dr. Khan right away.
What is Involved in Oral Cancer Screening?
During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Khan will look for signs of cancer or precancerous sores or patches in the mouth. He will ask you about your dental and medical history and any specific concerns you may have. Dr. Khan will then check the entire oral cavity including the lips, cheek lining, tongue, teeth, roof and floor of the mouth and throat for any suspicious irregularities.
Why is an Oral Cancer Screening Done?
The goal of an oral cancer screening is to detect oral cancer at its earliest signs when cancerous spots or lesions are easiest to remove and cure. Although everyone can benefit from an occasional oral cancer screening, those who are at a high risk of oral cancer should make them a greater priority.
Factors that can put you at a high risk for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use from chewing tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars
- Heavy or prolonged alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer
- History of excessive sun exposure
- Family history of cancer
What Happens Next?
If a suspicious lesion or sore was found, Dr. Khan will most likely refer you to a specialist for evaluation and treatment.
How Can Oral Cancer be Prevented?
Knowing the risk factors of oral cancer can help you understand how to prevent it. By limiting or eliminating these factors through lifestyle changes such as not smoking or drinking, you can decrease your risk of developing oral cancer. Also, healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables might also decrease your risk of developing oral cancer. If you are at a high risk, it is important to keep up with regular dental visits so early signs are more likely to be detected.
If you are at risk for oral cancer, call our office today to schedule an oral cancer screening.