This two part article series discusses oral cancers and the measures patients and dentists alike can take to detect this terrible disease early.
In our previous article post, the dentist in Colorado Springs began discussing the importance of the early detection of oral cancer. Each year, this terrible affliction claims the lives of over 35,000 people. With early diagnosis and treatment, 85% of these deaths could be avoided. What it takes, says the dentist in Colorado Springs, is a greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Patients should also be greatly urged by their dental healthcare professionals to schedule an appointment should they ever notice any anomalous bumps, lumps, lesions or sores that don’t heal. Unfortunately, says the dentist in Colorado Springs, too many people ignore changes in their oral health and the consequence is that cancer is frequently left undiagnosed until it has spread to other parts of the body. So, what should you do if you suspect you have a problem?
Advice from the Dentist in Colorado Springs CO
So, you’ve noticed a red or white patch on the inside of your mouth, or any one or more of the following symptoms:
1. A sore in your mouth or on your lips that won’t heal
2. Bleeding in the mouth
3. A lump or thickening in the soft tissues of the mouth (the cheek, tongue, palate, gums, etc.)
4. Difficulty or pain when swallowing
5. Loose teeth
6. Difficulty in wearing removable dentures. This, according to the dentist in Colorado Springs, can be caused by swelling of the jaw.
7. An earache
8. Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
9. Numbness of the tongue or any other area in the mouth
10. A lump in your neck
First and foremost, do NOT convince yourself that you have oral cancer, stresses the dentist in Colorado Springs CO. Each one of these symptoms has a plethora of underlying causes, many of which are far from life-threatening. The smart thing to do, if the symptom has only recently presented itself, is to keep a weary eye on it and see whether it heals and goes away. If after two weeks it is still present, then immediately book an appointment with the dentist in Colorado Springs. He or she will perform a biopsy of the suspicious lesion, patch or lump and send it off to the laboratory for a definitive diagnosis.
The dentist in Colorado Springs CO will perform any other necessary laboratory tests and clinical examinations in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Once you know your results, the dentist in Colorado Springs will make a recommendation for treatment (if the symptom is non-cancerous) or refer you to a respected specialist (if it is malignant.)
Ask the Dentist in Colorado Springs CO: Risk Factors
Changing the statistics for oral cancer-related deaths requires more than just early detection. We should all recognize that the choices we make today will greatly affect our long-term health, says the dentist in Colorado Springs. There are many risk factors for oral cancer and by excluding as many of them as possible from your day-to-day life; you can minimize the chance of ever having to deal with the trauma of a cancer diagnosis. According to the dentist in Colorado Springs CO, the following are risk factors:
• Tobacco-use (smoking or chewing)
• Heavy alcohol use
• Human Papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type)
• Sun exposure (cancer of the lips)
• Age (most oral cancers occur in patients over the age of 40, says the dentist in Colorado Springs CO.)
• An unhealthy diet
• Poor lifelong oral hygiene
• A family history of head, neck and oral cancer
If any of these risk factors apply to you, you should keep regular appointments with the dentist in Colorado Springs CO. Make sure you explain your lifestyle and/or genetic heritage to the dentist so that he or she will take extra caution in looking out for signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Prevention it always better than cure, but in the event that it’s too late for that, early detection is the next best thing, explains the dentist in Colorado Springs.