Oral cancer refers to any cancer that develops on the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth or bottom of the mouth. Although the precise cause of an individual’s oral cancer may not be known, there are some risk factors. Your chance of developing oral cancer increases if you use any kind of tobacco, consume alcohol to excess, have had an infection with human papilloma virus or have a compromised immune system.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
You may notice some symptoms of oral cancer when brushing or flossing your teeth. These symptoms include a bleeding sore, a sore that does not heal, the presence of a lump in your mouth or a sore throat. Pain or difficulty chewing or swallowing, tongue pain and jaw pain are also symptoms of oral cancer.
How Oral Cancer Is Diagnosed
Your dentist can diagnose oral cancer with an examination of your mouth. If cancer is suspected, your dentist may collect a tissue sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. If cancer is diagnosed, you may need some additional tests such as an MRI to stage the cancer and determine if it has spread to other parts of your body.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer treatments depend on the type, location and stage of the cancer. In most cases, surgery is performed to remove the cancerous tissue. You may also need reconstructive surgery for your mouth after the cancer has been removed. If your cancer was caught at an early stage, you may be given radiation therapy. The radiation therapy delivers targeted ionizing radiation to the cancer cells in order to kill them and stop their spread.
Call the office of Joshua Ignatowicz, DMD today to schedule a screening for oral cancer.