According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, over 54,000 individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer annually. It will lead to 9,750 fatalities and kill approximately one person per hour, 24 hours a day.
Historically, the mortality rate associated with this malignancy has been high not because it is difficult to detect or diagnose but due to the late discovery of the disease. That is why it is crucial to visit a dentist near you for a screening. But, it is important to know what oral cancer is, the causes, types, and symptoms.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancers are one of a group of malignancies known as head and neck cancers, with about 85% of all head and neck malignancies being oral cancer. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth (hard palate), the base of the tongue, and floor of the mouth. Oral cancer can also develop in the salivary glands, which is much less common.
What are the Types of Oral Cancer?
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most prevalent mouth cancer, accounting for more than 90% of all cases. The tumors or lesions affect the squamous cells that line the inside of the mouth.
Another common type of oral cancer is Adenocarcinoma, which accounts for about 3-5% of all cases. Cancer affects the epithelial cells that produce saliva.
Less common types of oral cancer include Sarcomas, Melanomas, and Basal cell carcinomas. Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the connective tissues of the mouth, while melanomas develop in the pigment-producing cells of the mouth.
What are the Causes of Oral Cancer?
Several factors can cause oral cancer, and they include:
- Tobacco use: Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for developing oral cancer. Snuff and chewing tobacco also have the same effect as smoking.
- Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cancer, particularly when combined with tobacco use.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection: HPV is a common virus that can lead to mouth cancer.
- Older age: The risk of developing oral cancer increases with age.
- Exposure to sunlight: Oral cancer is more common in people who have had a lot of exposure to sunlight or spend a lot of time at the beach.
- Previous oral cancer: People who have had oral cancer are at increased risk for developing new Oral cancers.
- Family history of Oral Cancer: People with a family history of Oral Cancer are at increased risk for developing Oral Cancer.
Remember, though, that you can develop oral cancer without the risk factors. It is advisable to visit a dental office in Pompano Beach for consultation and assessment.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Most Oral cancers are found on the tongue, lips, inside of the cheeks, and hard and soft palate. However, they can also form on the gums and floor of the mouth. Oral cancer may appear as a white or red patch inside the mouth, a sore that doesn’t heal, bleeding, numbness, or a change in the texture of the Oral Tissues. Oral cancer can also cause pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw. It is important to see your dentist in 33062 for a diagnosis if you experience any of these symptoms. Early detection of mouth cancer is key to the successful treatment of Oral cancer.
What are the Treatment Options for Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer affects the tissues of the mouth and throat. It can be difficult to detect in its early stages, so you must see a doctor if you experience any symptoms.
Oral cancer treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Oral cancer can be a serious condition, so it’s important to work with your dentist in Pompano Beach to create a treatment plan that’s right for you.
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Visit Beautiful Smiles Family Dentistry for more information about oral cancer and what to expect during your screening.