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Posted on: January 6, 2023
Oral Cancer and How a Central Arkansas Surgeon Can Help
Oral cancer is a topic that most people try to avoid. However, not talking about it doesn’t help. In fact, spreading information is the best way to raise awareness about it. The more information that people have, the better chance that they have of beating this disease. The good news is that the number of cases of oral cancer has been on the decline over the past 30 years. That being said, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Either way you slice it, oral cancer is still an issue. According to the American Cancer Society, there were roughly 54,000 new cases of mouth cancer reported in 2022. While studying these reports, the agency found that the gums, tongue, and tonsils were the most common places for people to get oral cancer.
If you have oral cancer, your best chance for beating it is to seek treatment right away. Your Central Arkansas oral surgeon can provide the support that you need. For your oral surgeon to support you, though, you have to go in for treatment first. Let’s discuss some symptoms of oral cancer that might indicate you need to seek treatment from an oral surgeon.
Learning What Oral Cancer Is
Before we jump into the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, let’s raise awareness about what oral cancer is. As you can guess from the name, oral cancer is cancer of the mouth. In fact, some people simply refer to it as mouth cancer.
The main reason why people don’t get treatment for oral cancer right away is because it’s so hard to detect on their own. Typically, you need professional help to catch oral cancer in its early stages. Oftentimes, the early signs of oral cancer simply look like common mouth sores.
Going to see your general dentist twice a year is a good way to ensure that you catch oral cancer early. That is because your general dentist does a screening for cancer every time that you come in for a checkup.
The Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Now that you know a bit more about what oral cancer is, let’s take a look at some of the most telling symptoms of mouth cancer. The early symptoms are typically very mild, which is what makes it hard for you to determine whether or not it’s cancer. However, if you see any abnormalities, you should have them looked at by a professional to be sure.
The first and most common symptom of mouth cancer is mouth sores. Since mouth sores are common, you don’t have to raise the alarm on each one that you find in your mouth. Instead, pay attention to mouth sores that won’t heal within three weeks. Usually, the mouth can heal quickly, so having sores that don’t heal could be a sign of oral cancer.
Next, check the inside of your mouth from time to time for red or white patches. This change in color could be an early warning sign of cancer. You should also be aware of rough patches in your mouth. These patches should also be looked at by a professional.
What Can Cause Oral Cancer?
Plenty of lifestyle choices can lead to the development of oral cancer. That said, some causes are outside of your control. For example, did you know that men are much more likely to get oral cancer than women? Not only that, but as you age, you’re more likely to end up with oral cancer. In fact, a vast majority of oral cancer cases are found in men over the age of 45.
Of course, age and gender aren’t the only elements that can lead to the development of cancer. Tobacco is one of the leading causes of oral cancer. The use of any tobacco product, smoking or chewing, can lead to the development of oral cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society says that nearly two out of every three cases of oral cancer reported are directly linked back to the use of tobacco in some way.
Also, some studies support that heavily drinking alcohol can lead to the development of mouth cancer. Keep in mind that heavy drinking means consuming over 21 alcoholic drinks a week. These reports go on to show that people who combine heavy drinking with the use of tobacco could be increasing their chances of getting oral cancer nearly six fold.
Steps to Treating Oral Cancer
There’s no set process for treating oral cancer. Depending on the type that you have and the stage you’re in, there are different methods to go about treating it. Regardless, the first step is to see an oral surgeon. Such a professional can examine your mouth and come up with the best course of treatment.
If the cancer is found early enough, treatment may simply involve removing the cancer. Afterward, the cancerous tissue will be sent for testing. In some cases, other cancer treatments are necessary after having the cancer removed, such as chemotherapy.
The good news is that the majority of cancer treatments can be done at oral surgeons’ offices. Typically, they have the equipment needed to perform the operation. That being said, there are some cases in which you might have to be sent to the local hospital for further treatment.
How Do Surgeons Prevent Oral Cancer?
There’s no way to prevent oral cancer completely. After all, many people develop cancer through no fault of their own. Despite that, you can do some things to lower your chances of getting oral cancer. For example, you should avoid using tobacco products and drinking heavily.
Beyond that, you can lower your risk of getting nearly any kind of cancer by improving your diet. Eating foods rich in omega-3s is good at preventing a number of cancers. In addition to that, you should focus on eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
Lastly, if you’re afraid that you or a loved one has oral cancer, the best thing that you can do is seek treatment. Your local Central Arkansas oral surgeon can diagnose and treat your oral cancer.
If you think that you have oral cancer, give us a call today. We can provide the treatment that you need.