Oral Cancer Overview: 4 Things You Should Know

Wondering if you have oral cancer? This type of cancer is found in or around the mouth area and is included in the category of head and neck cancers. Some of the more common signs include sores that will not heal, an unusual growth, an unexpected lump, white or red patches, difficulty swallowing, one or more loose teeth or experiencing pain in the mouth or ear. Those who are experiencing one or more of these signs need to make an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible for an overall mouth evaluation. When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, it is much easier to treat.

What causes oral cancer?

While the exact cause of oral cancer is not known, what is known are the risk factors that can lead to an oral cancer diagnosis. These factors include but are not limited to smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, a diagnosis of human papillomavirus, a diet low in nutrition, a weak immune system, too much sun exposure, genetics, being diagnosed with other cancers and other related mouth conditions.

4 things to know

The following is a list of four important things that everyone should know on the topic of oral cancer.

#1 – Age, gender

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects more than twice as many men as opposed to women.

#2 – There are 4 different stages

There are four different stages of oral cancer. Stages three and four are diagnosed in patients when oral cancer has spread into their lymph nodes, which makes oral cancer much more difficult to treat. Depending on what stage a patient is diagnosed with will ultimately determine how likely they are to fully recover.

#3 – It is not contagious

Oral cancer is not contagious, which means it cannot be spread from one person to another. While oral cancer itself is not contagious, certain diseases that increase one's chances of being diagnosed with oral cancer are contagious and therefore should be avoided, i.e. HPV, EBV, hepatitis C.

#4 – Treatment options

There are a few different options for treating oral cancer. The option used is dependent on each individual patient's particular situation. Common treatment options include targeted drug therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

Need to make an appointment for a thorough mouth evaluation?

Concerned you have oral cancer? The only way you can know for sure is by making an appointment with a dental professional so they can perform a thorough evaluation of your mouth. Our dental professionals, as well as our dental team, truly care about all of our patient's health, both oral and general, which is why we invite you to contact us now.

If you have any questions, feel free to bring them with you during your appointment so you can receive the answers you need. Hope to see you soon!

Request an appointment here: https://smilesdental.com or call Smiles Dental Care at (650) 563-1180 for an appointment in our Mountain View office.

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