Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, such as the lips, roof of the mouth, gums, inner lining of the cheeks, and under the tongue. It typically emerges as a growth or sore that continues to grow. Nearly 50,000 people in the U.S, majority of them men (approximately 70 percent), develop oral cancer each year.
Like other types of cancer, if intervened early, it is much easier to treat the cancer than later stages. Yet the majority of diagnostics include people with advanced stages of oral cancer. If you see your dental specialist regularly, you will have a much better chance of catching the cancer in earlier stages. At Beaverton Oral Surgeons, every dental check up entails a thorough examination of your oral profile.
Causes of Oral Cancer
When a cell’s DNA undergoes mutation, there is a chance that it could turn into a cancerous cell. The DNA is where all the instructions are stored that dictate the actions of the cell. When the growth of cancerous cells is much higher than healthy cells, this can become a serious cause for concern.
With time, the abnormal cells can accumulate together to form a tumor and spread to other areas of the mouth. We are still unclear on what exactly causes the mutation but if identified in the early stages, it can be pushed into recession. However, we have identified reasons that can boost the chances of oral cancer, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol consumption, to name a few.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Swelling, abnormal growth, and rough spots on the lips, gums, or on the inside of cheeks, are some of the most common symptoms of oral cancer. Some may find velvety spots in red or white color that feel odd to the touch compared to healthier parts of the mouth. Persistent and bleeding sores can also be an indication for oral cancer.
Some other symptoms include unexplained numbness, chronic sore throat, swelling or pain in the jaw, and difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or speaking clearly. If you notice a change in the way your dentures feel while you have them in, consult with your dentist right away. Some rare symptoms include weight loss, a feeling that something is lodged in the back of your throat, and loss of feeling in parts of the mouth.
The most common causes for oral cancer include excessive smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to sun. This is one of the reasons why the ratio of men to women when it comes to oral cancer, leans heavily towards men. Although there are some people who are at higher risk of developing cancer due to genetic traits.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop. Moderate consumption of alcohol is alright but excessive drinking can raise the chances of developing oral and liver cancer. Also try to avoid direct sunlight to your face for extended durations. The harmful radiation coming from the sun can also increase your chances of developing cancer.
If you or a close family member are suffering from any of the symptoms of oral cancer, talk to your dentist about them right away. We have experts with years of experience trained on identifying signs of oral cancer at Beaverton Oral Surgeons, who can take great care of you.