Can You Spot the Signs of Oral Cancer?
Although cancer can be a frightening and mysterious disease, your chances for surviving it can increase dramatically if you can spot the early warning signs. It’s important that you become familiar with the feeling and appearance of your lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, and throat in order to detect small changes as soon as possible.
Through regular self-examinations, you’ll become familiar with the normal colors and textures of your face and mouth. You’ll also be able to identify abnormal changes and bring them to the attention of your dentist or oral surgeon for further examination. If a suspicious area is detected, it is likely that you will be advised to visit an oral surgeon for oral pathology screening or a biopsy.
Partnering with a Professional
Oral pathology screenings and biopsies are often performed by an oral surgeon when abnormal changes are detected in the mouth, throat, or face. These abnormal changes consist of any new lumps, swellings, ulcers, reddish or white patches that do not go away on their own within a short period of time. These types of lesions are often painless, a factor that can make them easy to ignore. However, it is important to have any suspicious area evaluated by a professional to determine if they are malignant (cancerous) or if they display any aggressive tendencies.
Oral cancer of the throat can cause symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, chronic hoarseness, or sore throat.
Oral surgeons are trained to evaluate potentially cancerous lesions as well as perform the necessary screenings, biopsies, and even treatments when indicated.
Assessing your Risk for Oral Cancer
There are certain health and lifestyle factors which can influence your risk for developing oral cancer. Statistics show that tobacco users are at an increased risk for oral cancers. Chronic alcohol use can also increase your risk, as well as poor nutrition and inadequate oral hygiene. Despite these factors, approximately 25% of oral cancer cases are found in patients with none of the previously mentioned risk factors. An oral and maxillofacial specialist is trained to assess your risk for oral cancer as well as guide you through the diagnosis and treatment process.
To schedule an oral cancer screening for yourself or a family member, please contact our office for an appointment today.