The Importance of Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral problems are often early symptoms for other potential health issues, including cancer in other areas of the body. Being able to identify these issues ahead of time helps prevent the spread of cancer and the development of other health conditions inside the individual. While April does serve as a reminder of this disease, it should be a yearlong fight to make sure oral cancer and other oral problems do not come up. There are several signs and symptoms that might indicate a person is developing cancer in their mouth. This includes a sore that fails to heal, a lump inside the lining of the mouth, loose teeth, pain in the tongue and jaw, white or reddish patches that form along the inside of the mouth, trouble chewing and swallowing, and the constant feeling that something is caught in the throat.

It is very important to see a dentist at least twice a year. With regularly scheduled dentist office visits, it is possible to identify these sorts of situations before they become more wide-spread. The sooner these problems are identified, the faster the cause can be treated and the better off the person is fighting off cancer and preventing it from spreading. For people who are not able to visit the dentist office twice a year, either due to cost or lack of insurance, it is essential to make an appointment if any of these symptoms have remained present for at least two weeks.

Cancer cells in the mouth develop after a mutation inside DNA within the mouth occurs. Doctors and dentists still do not know exactly why the DNA mutates (if doctors understood this, it would prove far easier to treat cancer), but there are several risk factors that can lead to oral cancer, including tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, excessive sun exposure on the lips, and sexually transmitted viruses. Regardless of cause, though, with Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it is important for everyone to make sure and schedule a visit with their dentist.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call our office at (440) 255-3111!