Choosing a general dentist to address gum disease is essential. General dentists undergo many years of training in order to learn how to provide their patients with optimal dental care services. One of the more important services they offer is dental check-ups, as this type of dental appointment is one that can help prevent a…
Oral Cancer Treatment FAQs
There are more than 200,000 cases of oral cancer in the United States each year. It is important to be familiar with what oral cancer is, who is most at risk and what the early symptoms are to determine if you should schedule an oral cancer screening. It is also helpful to understand how oral cancer treatment works if you are seeking to properly prepare yourself.
Things to know about oral cancer treatment
Many patients are curious about how oral cancer treatment works. Of course, each patient is unique, and the treatment plan is tailored for the individual. However, there are certain expectations one can have before and during oral cancer treatment. The following is an overview of how to recognize oral cancer and what to expect if treatment is necessary.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer, also called mouth cancer, occurs when cancerous cells begin growing uncontrollably. Most instances of oral cancer are the result of squamous cell carcinomas, which is cancer that originates in the lining of the inside of the mouth. Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, namely the tongue, gums, lips, cheeks, palate and floor of the mouth. Oral cancer can spread to the jaw and other parts of the face and body.
What are the risk factors of oral cancer?
There are certain factors that may increase one’s risk of oral cancer. Individuals should consider regular oral cancer screenings from their dentist if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Men over the age of 55
- Heavy tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Constant sun exposure
- HPV infection
Men are approximately twice as likely as women to get oral cancer, and it most often occurs in individuals over the age of 55. Individuals who use tobacco or drink alcohol regularly may also be at an increased risk.
What are the early symptoms of oral cancer?
The symptoms vary depending on the location of the cancer, but there are certain common symptoms that can be checked for regularly, including:
- A sore that does not go away
- White or red discolored patch
- Mouth and ear pain
- A persistent sore throat
- Painful and loose teeth
If one or more symptoms persist or become severe, it is best to consider visiting a dentist. Symptoms do not always indicate that cancer is present, but prompt care can help with symptom management and diagnosing the root cause.
How does oral cancer treatment work?
If oral cancer is found, the patient, dentist, oncologist and primary care physician can determine the best path forward. Common treatments for oral cancer include surgery to remove the tumor, mouth and facial reconstruction (if necessary), radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The most highly recommended form of treatment depends on the location of the cancer, how severe it is and the patient’s preference.
Schedule an oral cancer screening today
If you are at an increased risk of oral cancer or are experiencing early symptoms of oral cancer, get in touch with our dental team today to arrange a convenient time for an oral cancer screening. We are glad to answer your questions and guide you through each step of the screening process.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Cancer Screening in Houston, TX.
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