Oral Cancer (Identification)

Oral cancer (OC) is not an uncommon cancer, and prevention and early detections is extremely important. Although we do not treat/manage patient with OC, but since OC has a long preclinical phase that consists of well-documented precancerous lesions; its screening is well considered as part of our comprehensive evaluations and care, especially of those age 30 years and older who use tobacco and/or alcohol. Should we find any suspicious clinical finding, a proper referral will be done. Oral cancer is a serious condition that affects various parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. It is important to maintain regular dental examinations for early detection and prevention. Oral cancer refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the oral cavity and can manifest as a sore, growth, or discolored patch that does not heal within a few weeks. If left undetected or untreated, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer: Several factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. These include:

  1. Tobacco Use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or using smokeless tobacco products significantly increases the risk of oral cancer.
  2. Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Excessive and long-term alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for oral cancer.
  3. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection: Certain strains of HPV have been linked to oral cancer, especially in younger individuals.
  4. Sun Exposure: Prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of lip cancer.
  5. Age and Gender: Oral cancer can affect individuals of any age, but it is more commonly diagnosed in individuals over 40 years old. Men are at a higher risk than women.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer: Being aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can help with early detection. Look out for the following:

  1. Persistent mouth sores or ulcers that do not heal.
  2. Red or white patches on the tongue, gums, or lining of the mouth.
  3. Non healing ulcer with thickened or rolled out margins
  4. Difficulty or pain while chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
  5. Persistent sore throat or feeling of something stuck in the throat.
  6. Numbness or pain in the mouth or lips.
  7. Changes in voice or hoarseness.
  8. Unexplained weight loss.

Prevention is key when it comes to oral cancer. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  1. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Quit smoking or using any tobacco products. Limit alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.
  2. Practice Sun Protection: Use lip balms with SPF, wear hats, and avoid excessive sun exposure, especially on the lips.
  3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit us for routine check-ups and cleanings.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly and manage stress levels.
  5. HPV Vaccination: Talk to your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine, which can help protect against certain strains of the virus.

Remember, early detection is crucial for successful treatment and improved outcomes. Regular dental check-ups and self-examinations can help detect oral cancer in its early stages. If you notice any suspicious changes or have concerns, do not hesitate to book your appointment with us for a consultation.

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