Cancer is a deadly disease that involves an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and damage normal tissue. Oral cancer may affect any part of the mouth or surrounding areas, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor, hard and soft palate, pharynx (throat) and even the sinuses. Like most forms of this disease, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not caught early. However, if diagnosed at an early stage, it is a treatable disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and men over the age of 50 are most susceptible.
Other risk factors for developing oral cancer include:
Oral cancer may include one or more of the following symptoms:
One of your best defenses against oral cancer is a routine dental exam, where you will also be screened for the disease. In addition to a visual inspection, your dentist will feel for lumps or irregularities in the tissue surrounding the mouth.
If your dentist sees something suspicious, he or she can remove a small amount and send it to a laboratory to be tested. Should the tissue prove to be cancerous, your dentist and doctor will work together to develop the best possible treatment plan. It’s possible that radiation or chemotherapy may be needed to completely remove the disease; however, survival rates are excellent with an early and proper diagnosis.
Certain lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. These include:
Additionally, regular oral examinations and cancer screenings take only a few minutes, but they could save your life. Why not make an appointment today? At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, your health – oral and otherwise – is our chief concern.