Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the mouth or areas of the mouth. Cancer is described as an uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells. If you are or have been diagnosed with oral cancer, then you have active cancerous cells within your mouth. These cells like to cause damage and it is crucial that you have regular dental checkups to avoid development and the spread of cancer.
Since oral cancer can show up in any area of the mouth to include the cheeks, lips, tongue, throat, and more, it is vital that your entire mouth is screened and cared for in a timely manner. If this condition is not diagnosed quickly, it WILL be fatal.
What Are the Symptoms Associated with Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer does have symptoms associated with it and you should monitor your mouth often to look for any early warning signs. If you do happen to notice any of the following symptoms, you should make sure to contact our La Habra office and have a checkup with Dr. Cho.
Some of the most common oral cancer warning signs include:
- Bleeding within the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing food
- Swelling or a thickening on the gums and lips
- Unexplained loss of feeling or numbness in the mouth, face, or neck
- Velvety white, speckled, or red patches in your mouth
- Recurring sores on the mouth, face, or neck
- Chronic sore throat Weight loss
- Change in the way you eat, speak, or how your dentures fit
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
You may be wondering if you are at-risk of developing oral cancer and the answer is that it is possible. There are many factors to keep in mind and there are some lifestyle choices that put you at risk.
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer. Men over the age of 50 are the ones who are most at risk.
Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Using smokeless tobacco
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- Smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars
- HPV and other STDs
- Family history of cancer
- Consumption of alcohol in large amounts
While smoking is a risk factor, about 25 percent of patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer do NOT smoke or use any type of tobacco products.
Oral Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
When it comes to an oral cancer diagnosis, it is said that the survival rate for one year after diagnosis is about 81 percent while a five to 10-year survival rate is only about 56 percent and 41 percent.
When you come into our La Habra office, you will undergo a consultation to determine if you have oral cancer. During this consultation, Dr. Cho will feel for any lumps and look for any tissues that appear to be discolored or abnormal. He will also look at your mouth, cheeks, tongue, face, and neck.
If any problems are uncovered or if Dr. Cho feels suspicious about an area, then he will request a biopsy on the spot and send the tissue off to the lab to be looked at. If it is determined that there is a spot that is cancerous, it will be removed.
It is important to have oral cancer diagnosed quickly as this increases the survival rate. In fact, early detection can allow for a complete eradication of the cancer.
Oral cancer is treated in a few different ways depending on where it is and the stage it is in. Most treatment requires surgery, but you may need to undergo radiation or chemotherapy. Also, medications may be prescribed to you and routine dental exams may be in place.
How to Conduct a Self-Exam
Conducting a self-exam at home can help you identify any problem areas. To do an exam, you will need to look and feel around your gums and lips. Next, you want to tilt your head back and look at the roof of your mouth. You should feel the roof of your mouth with a finger to see if there is any uneven skin.
Next, check your cheeks, tongue, and back of your mouth for any sores or areas of inflamed or discolored skin. Once you have checked your mouth, you should move on to check your neck for any swollen lymph nodes.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact Dr. Cho immediately to beseen.
Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening Today
It is vital that you come into our La Habra office to have an oral cancer screening performed. If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office today to setup a time.
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