How dangerous is Oral Cancer for your Oral health and your life?
Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by a dentist to check for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer early when there is a greater chance for a cure.
Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and causes damage to surrounding tissues in the lips, tongue, gum, roof of the mouth, the floor of the mouth, throat leading to the formation of a tumor.
Some common causes of Oral cancer
- Smoking cigarettes- People who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes are six times more likely to develop oral cancers than nonsmokers because smoking exposes the mouth to carcinogenic chemicals, which causes genetic changes in the cells of the mouth cavity and increases the risk of oral cancer.
- Excessive alcohol consumption- Excessive alcohol damages the cell, and whenever the cells try to repair themselves, it leads to a DNA change, which leads to Oral cancer. The more you drink, the higher the cancer risk.
- Excessive Sun- A chronic facial sun exposure can cause oral cancer because the mouth region’s skin is exposed to Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.
- A sexually transmitted virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV)- The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a type of virus that infects the skin and the cells’ lining body cavities, spreading through close skin to skin contact, usually during sexual activity.
- A weakened immune system
Oral Cancer Survival Rates
Despite advances in diagnostic and surgical techniques, the initial diagnosis of oral cancer or the 5-year survival rate has remained the same for four decades, from 50% to 55%.
Half of the people diagnosed with oral cancer die within the next five years, especially when it is not diagnosed early.
Oral Cancer Stages
There are four stages of oral cancer, based on the growth of the tumor.
Stage 1: The tumor is less than or equal to 2 cm, and there is no cervical lymph node (or distant organ) metastasis.
Stage 2: The tumor is between 2 and 4 cm, and there is no cervical lymph node or distant organ metastasis.
Stage 3: The tumor is larger than 4 cm and does not invade other deep tissues nearby, and there is no cervical lymph node metastasis.
Stage 4: Tumors have grown to a large size, and the cancer cells have penetrated nearby tissues, the lymph nodes, or other parts of the body.
There are three stages of oral cancer based on the spread of cancer in the mouth
- Localized: There is no sign cancer has spread outside the organ where it started (for example, the lip, tongue, or floor of mouth).
- Regional: This is when the cancer cell has extended to nearby lymph nodes.
- Distant: The Cancer has extended to other distant parts of the body, such as the lungs.
Symptoms of oral cancer
Here are some of the symptoms of oral cancer-
- A mouth sore that doesn’t heal
- Mouth pain
- Ear pain
- A growth or lump in the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Dramatic weight loss
- Development of red and speckled patches in the mouth
- Lower lip, face, neck, or chin numbness
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Bleeding in the mouth
It has been observed that many don’t pay attention to the symptoms of oral cancer until it spread and the effect of spread is noticeable. Out of control, people ignore the signs of oral cancer at the early stages, which eventually endangers their health and can lead to death; research shows that oral cancer cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day.
To protect yourself from oral cancer, stay Proactive; visit our dentist in Roswell- Shebi Dental core, for your oral cancer screening, and our Doctor Dr.Judd Shenk will attend to you. Call us today to make your appointment.