Let’s face it, no one likes to even think about cancer, let alone talk about it. However, the fact remains, it is real, and outcomes are much better when caught early. That’s why it’s important for you to read on for what you need to know about oral cancer.
The following are signs and symptoms of oral cancer.
These are not to replace a diagnosis by your physician. But you should let your dentist know immediately if you think you may have any of these symptoms:
- Lesions and sores that don’t go away or heal within a month
- Spontaneous bleeding
- Lumps/swelling in the mouth, lips, or neck
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Red or white patches that don’t rub off
These can all be warning signs that something is wrong.
When you go to a dentist, your exam should begin with a complete oral cancer screening. The dentist should not only look at your teeth, but should also pay close attention to your lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and the roof of your mouth. If they don’t ask about it, maybe even consider a different dentist, if they say they never check you for this.
There have been patients with malignant lesions in their mouths that were caught just in time. Through careful contact with other doctors and oncologists, the patient was able to get the treatment they needed. The good news was the oral cancer did not affect their life expectancy.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Many dentists are not familiar with the appearance of such lesions and they can often be mislabeled. You might be told it’s a little burn from something you ate, or something that will go away with time.
Unfortunately, oral cancer is extremely aggressive. Make sure your dentist does a complete oral screening at every exam. Dentists are the only ones that are able to do these in-depth exams, so make sure you’re getting them!
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