Oral Cancer is the Most Common Cancer in North America
Oral cancer is a growing concern. It is sadly of the most common cancers affecting people in North America. It also has a low survival rate with less than 50 percent of people diagnosed being cured of oral cancer.
If you do have cancer, whether it’s oral cancer or a different forms, you can develop teeth or dental complication. Some of these are caused by your cancer treatment can become chronic or painful. Dry mouth is one of the complications from cancer, but other patients may experience teeth that are overly sensitive. Teeth that decay quickly could also be an issue.
Oral Cancer Needs to be Treated Quickly
Oral cancer needs to be treated quickly. If it isn’t, cancer that spreads to additional facial tissues is not uncommon. It could also spread to the neck. Both of these are painful — and could cause disfigurement. If you are older than 40, you should be especially aware. Studies show that oral cancer is found most often in older adults (men especially). However, it is not uncommon for oral cancer to appear in younger people. It often appears on a person’s tongue, but other places in the mouth like the lips are also a possibility.
Dr. Jonathan Penchas at Midtown Dentistry is an expert in dental oncology and can help detect the cancer early on.
WARNING SIGNS OF ORAL CANCER
If you see lumps or patchy areas in your month, it may be an early sign of oral cancer. Other signs could be lesions or sores in your mouth. Often these early warning signs of oral cacnere are not painful so they are often missed.
Talk to Dr. Penchas, if you experience any of these:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unusual bleeding in your mouth
- Sores in your mouth that won’t heal.
- Lumps in your throat or neck
- Unusual growths in your throat or neck.
SCREENING FOR ORAL CANCER
More young women are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. This could be because there are more women smoking and both alcohol and tobacco have been prove as risk factors for oral cancer. But just because you don’t drink or smoke, it doesn’t mean you are immune. Approximately 25 percent of people who get oral cancer are non-smoker and may only drink moderately.
Scheduling regular checkups at our office can help limit your chances of developing this cancer.
RADIATION THERAPY FOR CANCER AND SIDE EFFECTS
If you have had or are having cancer radiation therapy to your head or neck, you may experience:
- Sores in your mouth
- Thick saliva
- Dry mouth
- Some difficulty when swallowing food, liquids or saliva
- Changes in the taste of food
Because of the pain and discomfort that comes with the side effects of radiation therapy, you may not be able to brush or keep your teeth as sparkling clean as you normally would. This may lead to tooth decay or even tooth loss.
AN EXPERT HOUSTON DENTIST IS NEEDED IF YOU HAVE HEAD, MOUTH OR NECK CANCER
Proper oral and dental care is extremely important if you have oral cancer both during your cancer treatments and after. This is because the oral cancer radiation treatment will make your mouth more prone to bacteria and decay. The dental expertise needed to handle the oral health issues of cancer patients is different from what a general dentist can do. It’s a dental expertise that should be handled by a certified dental onology expert.