Know Your Mouth: Oral Cancer Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

Even though it is not a pleasant thing to read or learn about, the statistics say that more than 43,000 Americans are estimated to be diagnosed oral cancer annually, which makes it extremely important for us to educate on prevention methods, early detection, and treatment options.

As we said, the number of people suffering from oral and throat cancers is concerning, but the good news is that ensuring early detection is as easy as attending your routine dental exams every six months. However, take care that oral cancer screening should be part of your regular exam. Due to the rapidly growing number of HPV-related oral cancer diagnoses, people 18 years and older should get screened yearly.

Precancerous tissue changes and early cancer can be discovered by the dentist, and he can diagnose them during the curable stages. This means that if detected early, the survival rate is an encouraging 80% to 90%.

Oral Cancer- Screening

An oral cancer screening consists of a verbal, visual, and physical examination, and the whole procedure lasts for only three minutes. It has two different parts:

– The first part consists of a review of your oral health history, as well as your overall health history, which includes questions that help assess your level of risk for mouth cancer.

– The second part is a visual inspection of all the areas of your mouth and throat in an effort to locate any abnormalities, such as sores and red or white patches. This means that you lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and far-back section of your tongue are all inspected.
Oral Cancer- Signs and Symptoms

It is always a good idea to take care of your own health by your own as well. So, it is highly advisable that you perform self-examinations between your visits to the dentist. There are certain signs and symptoms that indicate the presence of oral cancer and you should know them:

  • Suspicious lumps found by palpating your mouth, jaw, and neck
  • Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that do not heal
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
  • Hoarseness
  • A change in the way your dentures fit
  • Swelling or thickening of areas inside the mouth

Oral Cancer- Prevention Tips

Nevertheless, there are certain measures that you can take in order to minimize the risk of oral cancer and these are the following:

  • Limit or refrain from drinking alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid smoking and the use of all tobacco products.
  • Avoid overexposure to the sun, and use sun protective products for your skin and lips.

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