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an article by
Sheran Sharafi
(visitor contribution)
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Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a form of cancer affecting the mouth and/or part of the throat. Generally people disregard the signs of the disease and do not consult their local dentist about unusual lesions in their mouths, which they believe will go away soon. If not properly taken care of, oral cancer will progress and can cause major discomfort and difficulty when eating, chewing, breathing and talking, and may eventually be life threatening. Unfortunately, approximately 35,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with this largely preventable disease. Early detection of oral cancer is very important as it can spread quickly if not treated immediately.

ORAL CANCER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Contact a top dentist immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling, bumps/lumps, rough spots on the tongue, lips, gums, or any other area around the mouth
  • The emergence of white, red or both patches inside the mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth for no apparent reason
  • Loss of feeling or tenderness in the fact, neck or mouth
  • Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • Dramatic Weight loss
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, breathing or moving the tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth/dentures feel

WHO IS AT RISK?

  • The American Cancer Society says men face double the risk in developing oral cancer
  • Men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk
  • Smoker of cigarettes, cigars or pipes are six times more likely
  • Smokeless tobacco users are 50 times more likely
  • Excessive alcohol drinkers are 6 times more likely
  • History of cancer in the family
  • Sun exposure

Keep in mind that a quarter of oral cancer patients are nonsmokers and only drink alcohol occasionally. The chances of surviving oral cancer are high if caught early on, so it is important to regularly visit the best dentist you can find.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

When going in for a routine dental exam verify to make sure your dentist performs an oral cancer screening. This procedure is noninvasive and you should experience little to no discomfort. What the dentist will do is look into your mouth for lumps, lesions, or irregular tissue. He or she should also be looking for them on your face and neck. If something suspicious is found a biopsy would be performed to check if the anomaly is malignant.

TREATMENT

Your dentist may prescribe any or a combination of these treatments to remove and destroy cancerous cells:

  • Surgery (recommended for small tumors)
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Other treatments may include speech therapy or other therapy to improve movement, chewing, swallowing, and speech.

Make sure you trust your dentist and know he or she is good and meticulous at what is being done. If you need to find a dentist -- search through our dental directory, for top ranked dentists and dental offices so that you, and anyone else looking, can find the best dentist in the neighborhood.

Don’t forget to go to your dentist on a regular schedule and in between visits to perform self-examinations!

Find a Dentist in your area that can perform an Oral Cancer Screening Search Now

4 Methods to Help You to Find a Dentist:
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