What Does the Beginning of Mouth Cancer Look Like?

May 1, 2023

Oral cancer is one of those diseases that might sneak up on you. It is usually easy to miss, and patients often ignore some of the symptoms. Oral cancer affects a multitude of people across the nation. Nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in our nation, and around 70% of this number are men!

It’s a subtle killer, so we offer oral cancer screening in Encinitas. A trained eye can help you detect the disease during its infancy stages, which increases your chances of beating it.

Oral cancer affects the tongue, lips, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx.

Early Detection Is Vital

Early detection of oral cancer will help you start combating the disease before it spreads to other parts of the mouth. That’s why you need to keep your regular dental appointments. Regularly visiting our Encinitas dentist will allow you to undergo a physical examination.

Our dentist will check your entire oral cavity, including your lips, the back of the throat, the tongue, the lower and upper part of your mouth, and cheeks. Also, our dentist will check the neck area and face for any possible oral cancer signs.

Besides taking regular oral exams, you should familiarize yourself with the early signs of oral cancer. Knowing the early oral cancer signs will be able to help you detect if anything is amiss and bring it up during your next appointment with our dentist near you.

Common Early Oral Cancer Signs

Depending on where it initially develops, oral cancer can be detected via various symptoms. So, you will need to peel your eyes for the following early oral cancer signs:

  • Areas on your lips or mouth that have white or red lesions
  • A persistent sore throat
  • Any lumps, sores, swellings, or patches anywhere around or within your mouth or throat
  • Having any loose teeth that cannot be linked to any other dental issue
  • Any unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain around your mouth and tongue, face, or neck
  • Problematic swallowing
  • Throat hoarseness
  • Have a rigid tongue or jaw
  • Eroded sections of your gums, lips, or the mouth
  • Persistent bleeding sores on your neck area, face, or mouth that have no signs of healing within two weeks
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Feeling like you have a constant lump stuck in your throat

Consider the above signs warning bells; when they start ringing, you should look for help. In other words, contact our dentist the moment you notice the above signs. Give our dentist near you a chance to check out your claims and confirm whether you truly have oral cancer.

What Are Some of the Risk Factors?

The root cause of oral cancer is not quite clear; however, there are lifestyle choices that might leave you more predisposed to develop oral cancer. Some of the risk factors are:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption – oral cancer has been detected in most patients who take a lot of alcohol
  • Overexposure to the sun can you develop oral cancer
  • Using any form of tobacco, whether it’s in pipes, cigarettes, snuff, etc., – tobacco contains several carcinogenic substances that, if you introduce them into your mouth, you are most likely going to develop oral cancer
  • A history of oral cancer in the family
  • Contracting HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease, which has been heavily linked with oral cancer in young people
  • Have a weakened or compromised immune system

Regular Screening and Treatment

Our dentist can conduct oral cancer screening examinations, which are vital for the early detection of oral cancer. During your routine exam, you can expect visual exams and physical exams. If our dentist suspects anything and cannot find a conclusive answer, the next step will be to undergo thorough tests, including a biopsy.

Screenings should be carried out after every six months if you fall under the high-risk category. But if you aren’t in the high-risk category, then you schedule yearly oral cancer screening.

If the tests or visual exams confirm that you have malignant cells, the next step is to commence treatment. The treatment options will vary and might involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

At Sinclair Smiles, we love staying ahead of the problem, so we believe early detection is vital. Contact us today if you wish to schedule an appointment.

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