Health & Fitness

Maintaining Dental Health

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer is not the most common form of the disease, it can be difficult to detect and surprisingly difficult to treat. Of the nearly 40,000 cases diagnosed every year, more than a fifth of them result in death. On average, only 60% of oral cancer patients will survive for more than 5 years making detection and treatment is very important.
Indeed, early detection and treatment drastically reduces the risk of death and recurrence. The 5-year survival rate of this form of cancer jumps to more than 80% when the cancer is detected early, before it spreads to other parts of the body. Axa Dental Insurance Reviews Alternatively, once cancer has metastasized, 5 year survival drops to about a third of cases. Fortunately, there are many warning signs of this type of cancer that make early detection, and therefore earlier treatment, more than possible.
So what are these warning signs? Tissue changes in the mouth and gums are often the first signs of oral cancer. Various lesions that might indicate you have cancer include white and red lesions. White lesions, also known as leukoplakia, present as patches on the tongue, in the mouth, or on the inside of the cheek as a result of long-term irritation. White lesions may not always be associated with oral cancer, but if you have lesions that do not clear up in a few days or weeks, you should visit your doctor. Alternatively, erythroplakia, or red lesions are much more likely to become cancerous. These lesions present as a red patch in the mouth and can often not be attributed to other causes. In general, any mouth lesion that has not cleared up in 2 weeks or less should be inspected by your doctor.
In addition to these lesions, other signs of cancer include a lump or thickening in soft oral tissue, soreness in the throat, a feeling that something is caught in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty Drugs Used In Dentistry Slideshare moving the jaw or tongue, numbness of the tongue or other mouth areas, swelling of the jaw, and even ear pain. Again, any of these symptoms that persist for more than 2 weeks should be checked by your doctor.
Finally, there are several risk factors for oral cancer; by avoiding these risks, you can greatly reduce your chance of developing oral cancer. The majority of oral cancer cases are linked to cigarette smoking or heavy alcohol use; the combination of alcohol or tobacco use poses a much greater risk for cancer than if you had used these substances alone. Like many cancers, age, diet, and overall health are also associated with oral cancers. You should always try to get plenty of exercise, eat healthy foods, and avoid the sun to reduce your risk of cancer.